The Ministry of Interior creates a centre for combating human trafficking

The news were announced by the Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova. The new unit of the Interior Ministry, which will coordinate the activities of all departments dealing with refugee issues, will aim to strengthen measures against illegal immigrants in the country through police raids, patrols and video surveillance. Every day the police in the capital detains between 50 and 150 undocumented foreigners, mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the request of Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova there will be constant police surveillance in risk zones of the city. According to Minister Bachvarova there is a danger of a bigger migrant flow towards Bulgaria, although so far the number of illegal immigrants has not increased.¬

Rumyana Bachvarova explained that in the new unit will take part representatives of all departments that work with refugees trafficking so that they can coordinate better.

She explained that 60 Polish officers who will assist in the security of the Bulgarian-Turkish border will arrive soon, as a result of the aid, required by our country from Frontex. 

During the last 24 hours in a special police raid carried out by the police in Sofia together with Executive Agency "Automobile Administration", the Fire Brigade and the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, 65 illegal immigrants were detained in the district of Lions’ bridge and the Mosque. 

Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said she has asked that there is a permanent police presence in these areas and that there has been reached an agreement with the Interior Minister about this. Fandakova also expects that there is a post of the gendarmerie and an increased number of special police raids. The range of video surveillance in Sofia is to be expanded as well. 

According to Ms. Fandakova there are currently more than 2 000 CCTV cameras in Sofia and that they cover risk areas. Sofia Directorate of the Ministry of Interior (SDMI) reassured that they are doing everything possible to address the problems with refugees in Sofia. They say that they have the resources to respond almost immediately after detecting suspicious people and packages in the streets. According to them the whole resources of the Sofia Directorate is engaged with the refugee flow and that there are daily special raids throughout the capital.

The Bulgarian National Television sought the opinion of people living in the riskiest area of Sofia – Lions’ bridge. They were not particularly worried, but they insisted on increased security measures.

According to one citizen there should be some kind of control, because we do not known exactly who are the migrants in this district and where they come from. 

Another citizen shared that he had witnessed a policeman’s very quick reaction as he caught a migrant, pinned him to the ground and handcuffed him – all within seconds. 

Another habitant of the neighborhood said that she is not worried by the strong Arab presence in the area.

Besides Lions’ bridge, other areas that are considered high-risk are the area of the Central Mineral Baths, Pirotska street near The Market Hall and the neighborhood of Ovcha Kupel where is located the Centre for Accommodation of Refugees.