Sex workers are being cleared from the streets of Sofia in a special operation by the capital city’s Interior Ministry directorate, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said on August 20 2009.
The operation started on the night of August 19 and was directed mainly against pimps and their networks. Several prostitutes were arrested on the Sofia Ring Road near the residential areas of Bistritsa and Kambanite.
BNT said that police operations to clear the streets of sex workers would continue.
Police said that there was difficulty when carrying out an operation in area where there were a number of sex workers because word spread quickly and they would disappear from sight.
Sex for money is illegal in Bulgaria but arrests of pimps have tended to be infrequent, NGOs say, and certain areas of Sofia – notably the Ring Road – are known pick-up points. A revived debate in official circles under the previous government about decriminalising prostitution came to nothing.
Concern has frequently been expressed by international law enforcement about sex workers in Bulgaria and the region of South Eastern Europe because of the endemic problem of people trafficking for enforced prostitution.