Subject: News/BULGARIA: CAMPAIGN TO END SEX SLAVERY OF BULGARIAN WOMEN.
From: Melanie Orhant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 14:19:48 EDT
4-17-00 BULGARIA: CAMPAIGN TO END SEX SLAVERY OF BULGARIAN WOMEN.
SOFIA, April 17 (Reuters) - The International Organisation for Migration
launched a campaign on Monday to prevent thousands of Bulgarian women from
becoming sex slaves abroad.
"The IOM sees trafficking in women as a growing threat, it is becoming an
issue of concern for this region," IOM coordinator for Central Europe Irena
Voyachkova said, launching the project called "Open Your Eyes", funded by
the U.S. State Department.
"Our goal is to protect women by providing information which will help them
to understand the risks they undertake by taking suspicious jobs abroad,"
said the U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, Richard Miles.
Local rights groups estimate that some 10,000 Bulgarian women, many under
18, are trapped in the sex industry abroad.
Many are lured by newspaper advertising promising well-paid work as models,
dancers, shop assistants, baby-sitters, waitresses and maids, or marriage
with foreigners. Others, mainly from smaller villages, are kidnapped and
smuggled over the border.
Growing involvement of Bulgarian women in prostitution, at home or abroad,
is one of the most brutal results of the economic hardship that has
accompanied Bulgaria's transition to a market economy after communist rule
collapsed 10 years ago.
Local IOM coordinator Maria Stefanova said the campaign would target some
450,000 young Bulgarian women who according to an IOM survey were most
likely to take a risky job abroad.
Over 200,000 posters and leaflets will be made. Special clips will be
broadcast on radio and TV.
Bulgarian women are smuggled into the international sex trade through three
main channels, Stefanova said.
The so-called "northern" channel goes to the Czech Republic and Poland to
Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. The "eastern" channel is
through Turkey to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and the
"regional" channel goes to Greece, Macedonia, Albania and Turkey.
The project, due to be completed in October, is the third information
campaign for prevention of trafficking in women launched by the IOM in
Europe. The first were conducted in Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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