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Bulgaria: UN expert on sale and sexual exploitation of children to visit

GENEVA (28 March 2019) – UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, will visit Bulgaria from 1 to 8 April 2019.

“I look forward to assessing the scope of sale and exploitation of children in the country, as well as the root causes and the major challenges in the fight against these issues that Bulgaria is facing,” she said.

The expert has been mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to promote strategies to prevent and combat the sale and sexual exploitation of children and to make recommendations for the care, recovery and reintegration into society of child victims.

The Special Rapporteur will focus on children disproportionally impacted by the issue, including children from minorities, those in social care, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as undocumented, migrant children and children working and living in the street and children with disabilities.

De Boer-Buquicchio will address issues such as the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse involving information and communication technologies, child marriage and the sale of children through illegal adoptions.

“I will reach out to child victims of abuse, violence and exploitation, and to children in vulnerable situations, such as those placed in institutions or living in settlements, to make sure their voices are heard by the Government and others,” said de Boer-Buquicchio.

During her eight-day visit, the human rights expert will travel to Sofia, Burgas, Sliven and Pleven. She will meet representatives of the executive, legislature and judiciary, local and municipal authorities, the Ombudsperson, civil society organizations, representatives of the private sector, members of the international community, and children.

The Special Rapporteur will also visit children’s residential facilities and special care units for the temporary placement of unaccompanied children, and crisis centres for the protection and support of victims of violence and trafficking.

At the end of her visit, on Monday 8 April 2019, the UN expert will share her preliminary observations at a press conference at 12:00 noon local time at the BTA National Press Club, 49 Tsarigradsko shose blvd, Sofia. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.

ENDS

Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio (Netherlands) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children by the UN Human Rights Council in May 2014 and her mandate was renewed in March 2017. She served as Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe between 2002 and 2012. Ms de Boer-Buquicchio spearheaded the adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. She is the President of the European Federation for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Bulgaria

For more information and media requests please contact:
In Bulgaria, (during the visit): Ms Shushan Khachyan (+41 79 201 0123/ skhachyan@ohchr.org)
In Geneva, (before and after the visit): Ms Shushan Khachyan (+41 22 917 9984 / skhachyan@ohchr.org) or write to srsaleofchildren@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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