[Stop-traffic] News/Bulgaria: Trafficking in women

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Bulgaria: Trafficking in women
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Nov 29 2000 - 10:36:16 EST


200011161509

         Bulgaria, Poland to fight trafficking in women
            SOFIA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Bulgarian women are the biggest
group of sex slaves in Poland, officials and rights activists
from the two countries said on Thursday, vowing to step up the
fight against sex trafficking in women across Europe.
            ``Bulgarian women form the biggest group of foreign
prostitutes in Poland and they live in the worst condidions,''
said Stana Buchowska who heads the Polish office of La Strada, a
European Union-funded project for fighting trafficking in women.
            Buchowska said around 1,200 of the 10,000 Bulgarian women
believed to be trapped in the industry were in Poland, living in
appalling conditions.
            Many of them, aged under 18 and of Gypsy or ethnic Turk
origin, ``usually work at the lowest level, at motels and
motorways, and are often victims of violance,'' she said.
            ``They are often sold like meat at tenders, they are the
lowest paid in the professsion and very often not paid at all,
living virtually as slaves,'' Buchowska told reporters.
            She was speaking after a meeting of police and justice
ministry officials from Bulgaria and Poland and representatives
of La Strada in both states.
            Nadezhda Kozhuharova, head of the Bulgarian branch of La
Strada, said there were two channels for smuggling Bulgarian
women abroad.
            The first went through Poland and the Czech Republic to
Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The other was to Macedonia,
Albania, Kosovo, Turkey and Greece.
            Bulgarian women are lured in the sex industry by newspaper
advertisements for jobs abroad as models, baby-sitters,
waitresses and maids. Others, especially from small villages,
are virtually kidnapped and smuggled over the border with false
documents.
            Earlier this year Bulgaria's La Strada launched a prevention
campaign called ``Open Your Eyes,'' warning with leaflets,
television and radio commersial against traffic in women.
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