Corruption and Trafficking: Monitoring and Prevention titles the new brochure, recently published by the Center for the Study of Democracy of its Reports and Analyses series. It is the first analytical output of the newly founded Expert group on corruption and illegal trafficking as part of Coalition 2000 anti-corruption activities
The phenomenon of illicit trafficking has become one of the most important sources for the “shadow economy” in Bulgaria throughout the 90ies. Its growth was caused by a number of international and internal factors as well; the most crucial of which is the weakening of the post-communist state and the spread of corruption practices among state officials.
Hence the emerging of the criminally interwoven corruption/trafficking involve state officials (policemen, customs officers, senior civil servants and politicians) on the one hand, and semi-criminal groups and local mafia on the other. Bulgarian “contraband channels” also constitute a part of the wider network of transnational crime. In the forthcoming brochure, however, the emphasis is on Bulgarian trans-border crime, rather than on its international ramifications.
The brochure is composed of three parts:
- an analysis of trans-border crime in Bulgaria during the 90ies;
- a review of the sociological and statistical methods of measuring illicit trafficking;
- Practically oriented proposals with the aim of curbing corruption and trafficking.
In the second part of the brochure (Monitoring the illegal trafficking) the authors propose two relevant methods of measuring the contraband merchandises imported in the country. One of them is the “mirror statistics” method, which consists of comparing Western and Bulgarian official data about the export/import of the country. It is used to assess the scope of the gray economy as a whole, and for locating the main “contraband markets” in Bulgaria. In addition, an original mechanism is developed, which combines monitoring through sample interviews, with exerting control over contraband goods. This mechanism is oriented towards future cooperation between local NGOs and public authorities (customs and police).
The third part of the brochure consists of proposed measures to be undertaken to curb illegal trafficking and corruption in this country. It is coined after the Coilition 2000 Anti-Corruption Action Plan and outlines the synergy of public sector reform and civil society anti-corruption initiatives. It also stresses on the importance of enhancing international cooperation in the framework of Bulgaria’s EU accession.