The concluding conference for the project YOUTHACT – Community Action for the Prevention of Trafficking of Vulnerable Groups, took place Oct. 15-17, 2015 in Blagoevgrad. The conference started with a fair of projects and initiatives, carried out by NGOs in the country. Participants in the conference also viewed an exhibition of the art works made by school students in the competition organized by the YOUTHACT team in April and May this year. The evening program on Thursday, Oct. 15, included also screening of short movies on trafficking directed by students from the Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad.
The conference program on Friday included three panels with international and Bulgarian speakers. In the first panel, Ms Voynova (Women’s Alliance for Development) and Mila Mineva (Centre for Liberal Strategies), presented the main activities in the project and the main lessons learned. Mr Miroslav Naumov from the National Commission for the Combat of Human Trafficking presented the institution’s main goals and tasks, and spoke about new challenges in view of the recent migration and refugee crisis in Europe. Ms Lyubka Miteva from the local commission for combating human trafficking shared her experience working on the prevention of trafficking with local schools and institutions in Blagoevgrad. In the afternoon panel, conference participants had a chance to hear from several international experts on trafficking: Madalina Mokan from Romania, Prof. Stef Adriaenssens (KU Leuven, Belgium), Prof. May-Len Skilbrei (University of Oslo), Judge Wilma van Benthem, Amsterdam Court of Appeals. The experts spoke about various aspects relating to the research and gathering of data about trafficking, as well as about difficulties in the prosecution of criminals engaged in THB. Judge Andonova, deputy chairperson of District Court Blagoevgrad, presented interesting facts about the work of the Bulgarian prosecutors and judges in the investigation of human trafficking.
The concluding panel of the conference was dedicated to a very important issue, namely, the current refugee crisis in Europe and the new challenges that the Bulgarian and EU authorities face in the prevention and combat of trafficking in human beings.
More about the project activities at www.youthact.eu.