A young woman from a small village in Northern Bulgaria was unemployed and was recruited and manipulated to engage in sex work by a man. He kept all the money and gave her only pocket money. She escaped once with a client, but her exploiter found her and brought her back to work for him. She was exploited for approximately nine months before she managed to escape during a police patrol check.
The case was investigated and prosecuted as human trafficking. The woman received psychosocial support from an NGO and pro-bono legal aid and representation. She participated in the proceedings as a civil claimant and injured party. The victim’s lawyer secured evidence of moral damages through the testimonies of the police officers who rescued her and the expert report of the NGO social worker who supported the victim in the first weeks after her escape.
With regard to material damage, the lawyer relied on the testimony of two other women who engaged in sex work in the same area and confirmed the prices of sexual services, and of other witnesses who confirmed the difficult socio-economic situation of the family and the fact that the woman returned home without any money. The first instance court convicted the perpetrator of human trafficking In respect of the compensation claim, the judge awarded €4000 as compensation for moral damages from the perpetrator; this was only one quarter of the amount claimed.