Bulgaria and Romania

CATW January 1, 2008 Bulgaria & Romania

In 2007-2008, CATW carried out The Challenge Project in Bulgaria and Romania.

In 2007-2008, CATW carried out The Challenge Project in Bulgaria and Romania to contest the trend in legislative proposals and programs to legalize and decriminalize the sex industry and the prostitution sector. This prevention project used various means to raise awareness in public contexts, such as media and civic forums, about the consequences of legalization for increasing sex trafficking into these countries. The project encouraged and strengthened key state institutions, NGOs and the general citizenry to remedy gaps in anti-trafficking programs and policies by addressing gender equality, protection for victims, the demand for sexual exploitation that promotes trafficking, and the links between corruption, prostitution and trafficking.

CATW worked with two organizations in Sofia, Bulgaria – the Institute for Democracy, Stability and Security in Southeast Europe (IDSSee) and the Bulgarian Gender Research Association (BGRF); and in Romania with Caritas and a diverse network of religious, feminist and civic organizations. As a result this comprehensive project in Bulgaria, public opinion about legalization of prostitution changed, government proposals for legalizing prostitution were rejected publicly by government authorities and changes for prostitution law reform that addressed demand and increased the penalties for recruiters, pimps and traffickers were submitted to the Parliament. In Albania, this project changed public and media awareness about the situation of prostitution and trafficking. Led by Caritas, the most striking achievement of the project was the creation of a strong network of diverse Romanian organizations.