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The Crisis of a Definition: Human Trafficking in Bulgarian Law


Vladislava Stoyanova

Lund University, SE
About Vladislava
Doctoral candidate; adv. LLM, Leiden University, The Netherlands. For contacts: I would like to thank LJ Howard for his comments on earlier versions of this article. The responsibility for the views expressed remains mine.
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This article develops two arguments. First, at a national level in Bulgaria, the human trafficking framework is inoperable for identifying abuses worthy of consideration. By comparing the Bulgarian criminal law definition of human trafficking with the international law definition, I argue that the national criminal law definition is overly inclusive. This state of the Bulgarian criminal law makes it difficult to undertake a realistic assessment of the problem. Second, I submit that because the focus in Bulgaria has been exclusively directed towards the crime of human trafficking, the fact that the abuses of slavery, servitude and forced labour as such have not been criminalised at a domestic level has remained ignored. Thus, abuses that constitute slavery, servitude and forced labour, but do not manifest elements of human trafficking, might be left without proper investigation and prosecution.

How to Cite: Stoyanova, V., 2013. The Crisis of a Definition: Human Trafficking in Bulgarian Law. Amsterdam Law Forum, 5(1), pp.64–79. DOI:
Published on 01 Dec 2013.
Peer Reviewed


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