The Bulgarian-Turkish Border is Porous — When the Price is Right

The following investigative report from BTV reveals the extensive police corruption that allows people-traffickers to ply their lucrative trade across the border between Turkey and Bulgarian. Ladders to scale the fence, holes cut in places where the sensors don’t work, and even a ride through a checkpoint in a border police vehicle — these are some of the methods used to get illegal immigrants across the border, at a rate of €800-€1,000 per head.

Many thanks to Tanya T for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript (times based on two separate original clips):

00:01   €800 for an adult and 400 for a child —
00:05   this is the tariff for crossing the Bulgarian-Turkish border illegally. One of the traffickers
00:10   spilled the beans to BTV and revealed how he has been smuggling people across the border for years.
00:14   More about the criminal business and whether border policemen are involved in it
00:19   we will learn from Danny Atanasova. We are near the villages at the border
00:23   in a region where, according to the trafficker, there is active work going on,
00:28   and several times a week groups of illegals are smuggled.
00:32   The man told us that he has been doing this for a long time, and the official information
00:36   about the situation at our border does not represent the true picture.
00:40   98, 95, 92, 171, 68…
00:47   What’s this? —Pyramids.
00:50   Near which… —[The groups] pass, most often.
00:53   He knows every weak spot at the border. He tells us he takes illegals
00:57   from the border with Turkey and leads them inland [to where others take them to the next border].
01:01   He works together with 6-8 people, each with a task of their own.
01:04   Two people go to the border itself, three others remain behind,
01:09   the rest — there are two people with cars, yet another remains in the town…
01:18   It depends on the cars — if we have two cars, we can take 15 or 16 people.
01:23   If we have one car, we take seven or eight, up to ten people.
01:27   A year ago they used to take €1000 a person; now the tariff has dropped.
01:31   There is no charge for children under seven.
01:37   Well, that’s our agreement. It’s just that they don’t take much space.
01:41   For those over seven — €400-€500. Half the sum for an adult.
01:48   Now a person leaves Bulgaria, enters Turkey, takes the money,
01:52   comes back and gives us our part of the sum that we had agreed on.
01:57   They give €800-€700 a person.
02:01   If there are ten people to smuggle, that’s €7-8000 Euros. We get, roughly, €1000 each.
02:12   If three or four groups are smuggled a week, that makes enough [money].
02:17   That’s a serious business. —Quite a serious business,
02:21   from which many people have made a fortune.
02:24   The fence at the border is scaled with ladders, and the sensors,
02:28   according to him, are not working.
02:31   They cut it [the fence] at spots where they would pass through only once.
02:35   Where [the groups] pass through continually, ladders are used.
02:38   And do you know where the sensors are not working? —Yes. — Who tells you?
02:42   We get information from policemen.
02:45   Are the traffickers afraid of something?
02:48   A large portion of them are not. —And the business goes on? — And the business
02:52   goes on, because… It’s just that one can buy anything.
02:56   Those detained for trafficking usually go back into the business
03:00   right after being released from custody.
03:03   The trafficker maintains that during the last two years crossing the border has become easier
03:10   because of the complicity of border policemen.
03:13   How they are recruited and what kind of people cross our border, you can see tomorrow.
03:18   Danny Atanasova, thank you.
08:17   The continuation of scandalous revelations —
08:20   border policemen work for smugglers in exchange for €100-200.
08:23   They facilitated the traffic of illegals across the border,
08:26   and even received bonuses for good work, a smuggler told BTV.
08:30   In his words, superiors also took part in the schemes, and they received much higher sums.
08:35   A report by Danny Atanasova. He is a trafficker and he
08:39   transports [migrants] illegally to the interior of the country.
08:43   He says that in this business what matters most is information.
08:46   Where does this information come from? —Well, for example from some policeman.
08:50   You work with policemen? —There are policemen as well, yes.
08:54   Border policemen? — Yes, border policemen. —In what way do you come into contact with them?
08:58   Through acquaintances. We meet somewhere, at a coffee shop
09:02   or an isolated place outside the town.
09:05   We arrange things, work it out, we give them a little money.
09:08   How much? —Usually €100, 150, up to 200.
09:13   We want to know when the next shift comes, when they move from one place to another,
09:22   what their route is, where they move, from where to where do they go, how long do they stay there.
09:29   Has there ever been a case in which a border policeman refused to give you such information,
09:33   and didn’t want to work with you? On the whole, no.
09:37   No, because we don’t go to just any one. —How do you choose them?
09:42   Through acquaintances. We decide beforehand who could do this,
09:47   who needs money. They gave them bonuses as well.
09:53   It has happened that they have asked for more. We have given them more money.
09:57   In case it all ends successfully, he may even offer another policeman —
10:04   when he’s not on shift, another policeman could join the scheme and give us information.
10:10   When we have discussed beforehand that we would work on a certain day,
10:14   the police car does not stand there.
10:18   It is moved to some other place. According to the trafficker,
10:22   the best-paid are not the ordinary border policemen but their superiors.
10:26   They received the money beforehand. He goes to the border, takes four or five people,
10:31   drives them somewhere and no one knows where he is taking them,
10:36   and nobody asks him. Nobody even knows how many people there are in the car.
10:40   The sentries don’t stop them to check
10:43   who they are, how many there are, are they men, women or children,
10:48   where they are going from there on.
10:54   With what car does this happen? —With a border police car.
10:57   Do you know of such actual cases? [conversation has been cut] —At least three.
11:02   Because of the [large sums of] money and the lack of adequate penalties, business was flourishing.
11:06   They keep him in custody for 72 hours, he pays a lawyer, he’s taken out of jail and he continues.
11:13   He is released from custody and the next day he continues working.
11:19   According to official information the illegal crossings of the Bulgarian border
11:22   are several times lower [than in previous year(s)].
11:25   This morning on BTV the Minister of Defense did not deny there are cases of police corruption.

11 thoughts on “The Bulgarian-Turkish Border is Porous — When the Price is Right

  1. Im in bulgaria,

    This sounds right! U can buy anything here, i believe 100% bulgarian cops, and border guards will take money, and are taking money.

    You often see them sitting in cafes, in there border guard uniforms, as if they are fishing for offers.
    Border guards often know all the local people in towns and villages, in fact live there.

    Its for sure, the superiors are in on this, its same wuth drugs and contraband smuggling, its been going on for years.
    This is Bulgaria, how things go on here, nothings changed since they joined eu in 2007.

  2. In bulgaria, you can live, eat, get by on 5 levs a day!

    Buys you a beer, vegs, bread rice!

    2 good coffees, plus a giant cheese pastry (a banitsa) cost 2 levs or, (90 euro cents).
    Incredible low cost of living, so people offering hundreds or thousands if Euro in cash! To border guards, cops etc, no problem.

    Bulgarian Border guards, cops, salary, approx 400 levs month (200 euro per month) or less before tax.

    These idiots are protecting europe borders???
    The eu must be destroyed, immediatly, its a sham, a fraud, a deception!

    For gods sake the people must wake up, and revolt, storm the eu in brussels, capture the eussr commissars, go to there homes now!

    • I realize you say those things here on GoV because you can’t say them in Europe. However, such “must do” alarums have become a kind of mental masturbation, since real action isn’t possible. I do wish you would gather the people around you and lead the charge, being prepared for death and destruction of you and your family. Otherwise, what is the point of saying these things??

      You’re not the only one to voice such opinions…but I do hope you contribute to people who do take action – Tommy Robinson for one. Or whoever in your homeland is leading a similar public fight against the dying of the light.

      Expressing outrage is easy; actually making a difference is terrifying.

      • Why are you attacking me? Everyone who comments on gov is complaining about the madness thats going on, and some providing bits and pieces of facts and insights that others may not be aware of.

        Ive been supporting the many counter jihad orgainisations for more than 10 years,
        With €, and i spend huge time informing and spreading awareness to others of the facts of whats taking place around us.

        Odd, that u single me out, for ridicule after i stated a few simple facts about bulgaria, ive been based here since 2003, i have lot valid knowledge in this part east europe, romania, moldova, ukraine, serbia, i see whats going on here from the inside.
        Im qualified to state what i see, and as im physically here in the frontline, makes me a good commentar for your site. Surely!

        I dont believe theres a political solution to stop the eu and the commies, like all other totalitarian regimes it will end in war and violence.

        You implying that im a armchair general, is laughably mistaken, you know little about me or other voyeurs of u site, i think you got out of the wrong side of bed this morning and your just looking for a whipping boy.

        Did you run out of prozac?

        • The first part of your comment was fine. It provided information about where you live. The problem comes at the end, where prescriptions for what must be done are given. Then it becomes “same old, same old”…

          Yes, being on the front lines does make you potentially a good commenter for our site. It would have been good to read this additional information, including your financial support of others, and your belief that the encroachments of the totalitarians will end violently. But those points weren’t in the first comment. It ended with a call to “storm the EU in Brussels” – which I ought to have deleted in the first place; however, I didn’t see it in time.

          Our commenters are not “voyeurs”.

          I’m not on Prozac (or any other SSRI or SNRI).

          Aside from your personal attacks and some jumping to conclusions as to my mental status/emotional condition, this second comment is much better and far more informative.

  3. The simplest solution would be raising the salary of the border guards and perhaps providing some improved equipment. A better quality of candidate would also be attracted by the higher salaries.

  4. cops in Bulgaria especially border cops make well over €1000 a month, which may not be much, but one bedroom apt in Sofia is rented at €250 a month furnished, so chech your facts first. This report is old and biased. Bulgaria has barb wire border with Turkey and sendd back 100s of prople back each day. A migrant was recently shot by accident. In addition there are voluntary milicia squads armed pushing migrants back, so do not encourage turkish migrant to walk in. Lastly, while 10 years back Bulgaria had a huge problem with corruptions, now it stands well behind Greece and close to Italy. You have to be blind not to notice the big change here since 2007 when BG joined the EU.

    • [Personal slur redacted for violation of Gov’s commenting rules re civility]

      coos border cops don’t live in skfia apts at 500 levs rent a month, unless they are the superiors, maybe.

      Bulgaria made efforts to stop corruption, fix roads, and clean up until 1 jan 2008, the day after they were admitted as [an] EU member country.

      Since then, it has slid backwards; in fact, some billions of EU funding has disappeared into the clutches of bg [bg= Bulgaria or Big?]mafia groups since 2008, of which [the] EU still claim[s] to be investigating.

      The average monthly wage in Bulgaria bg 200$ month, basic cops take home 500 levs a month, plus whatever bribes they have managed to procure from motorists or smugglers at borders.

      Corruption is rife in Bulgaria! Even the boyko borissov is ex mafia boss, and former body guard of bg commie leader todor zhivkov,

      Who was later murdered.

      Bg borders are hotbeds for corruption, bg cops are bent as hell, border guards are bent! And reek of sulphur, of Satan.

      Bulgaria is a dodgy place. Read the book, “The Balkans” by Mark Mazoor.

      Bulgaria is loaded with brainwashed commie, leftie retards, especially in the political sphere.

      • It was a search for the book you mentioned. The author is Mark Mazower

        The Amazon blurb for the book says:

        Throughout history, the Balkans have been a crossroads, a zone of endless military, cultural, and economic mixing and clashing between Europe and Asia, Christianity and Islam, Catholicism and Orthodoxy. In this highly acclaimed short history, Mark Mazower sheds light on what has been called the tinderbox of Europe, whose troubles have ignited wider wars for hundreds of years. Focusing on events from the emergence of the nation-state onward, The Balkans reveals with piercing clarity the historical roots of current conflicts and gives a landmark reassessment of the region’s history, from the world wars and the Cold War to the collapse of communism, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the continuing search for stability in southeastern Europe.

        A buyer of the book said,

        “What a great overview of this region. The explanation of how geography has been [a]ffecting this region was extremely helpful. Well written and easy to understand. It’s short but a quick way to get started on learning about eastern Europe.”

      • As someone who drives in Bulgaria, I can testify that the roads here are much better than they were in 2008. The whole country is better now even counting in the global recession started that year. Last year Bulgaria had a 25% increase in individual income. Check your data. As an employer I also come across many educated Bulgarians returning home after hitting a grodlock in life in other EU countries and UK especially, where life has become unafordable for a normal working person. Finally, crime here is virtually non-existing compared to other major EU capital cities.

        • Yes they recently after 10 years! Menbership of eu, fixed a couple of highways, sofia burgas, and partly pstched up sofia varna.

          Most roads are disgrace, visit varna, 2nd biggest city in bulgaria! Smash u car in moon crater size potholes, same holes i saw in 2003, but bigger.

          Yes has been improvements in bulgaria, but romania has lead the way, they really have made huge leaps!

          Bulgaria is in vice like gripnof big mafia organised crime groups who now wear nice silver business suits instead of black hugo boss outfits, drive silver cars, instead of black mercedes, and operate legit security companys, instead of in u face protection rackets. Bulgaria also operates a type of apartheid system, where bulgarian women are not allowed to form relations with foreign men, else they be persona non grata, with family and friends.

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