Saturday, May 08, 2010

Bulgaria in Law and Order SVU

I am definitely not ashamed to admit that I love Law & Order - except for Criminal Intent. That one's annoying. SVU is definitely my favorite. Last night I watched the most recent episode of SVU (S11.E22) and it was about Bulgaria!

First, I would like the writers to know that a Bulgarian woman always has a last name ending in "A". Also, your actors had terrible Bulgarian/English accents. There actually is a difference between Russian and Bulgarian. But this isn't the point.

The episode was based around Human Trafficking and more specifically pregnant women trafficking. The idea was that a young Bulgarian woman had been brought to America, would have her baby, the trafficker would illegally sale the baby to an American couple for thousands of dollars and then kill the woman.

Not to say that's exactly how it happens but this is a real problem in Bulgaria. The SVU episode hit on the organized crime problems, human trafficking and corruption within the government in Bulgaria. All of these issues are serious ones that the Bulgarian people deal with on a daily basis.

According to the State Agency for National Security:

"They (3 Bulgarian nationals) were involved in the smuggling of 16 newborn babies, 13 of whom were ferried to Greek couples. The other three were sent to Bulgarian parents.

Reportedly, the lawyers managed to persuade pregnant women to sell their babies for between 3000 and 5000 leva ($1950 and $3250) before selling them on to Greek couples for as much as 40,000 euro ($51,000) per child, the SANS report said.

The Greek couples claim that they were unaware of the illegal proceedings as they were listed by the justice ministry "and applied legally" for the babies.

In Bulgaria, DNA tests are not used to prove the legitimacy of the couples of paternity results, thus it was easy for the adoptive father to walk into the clinic and 'claim' his child."


For the most part when I see this kind of tv show I think, "Oh, that's sad" but never give it a second thought. But with this one, it hit a little closer to home. Human trafficking is a problem in Bulgaria and Peace Corps is doing their/our best to get the message out. (Obviously, some of the work would be beyond the scope of our jobs... but our job is to educate the people about the issue.)

And just to give yall in the States some peace of mind, this is nothing I have ever seen. Peace Corps educates us about the issues and we have met with Bulgarian professionals whose work is to combat this. The corruption and organized crime is a little more apparent in everyday life. Really, just have a conversation with a Bulgarian. But for them it's just the way of life. It's what they know.


Vicki said...

Wow, Valerie, that is incredlibly sad. Even if the L&O folks messed up the accents, it is good that they are highlighting a real problem. Bless you PC folks for being salt and light in your communities. On a lighter note...see you soon and very soon!

Choirguy84 said...

I totally watched this episode yesterday and had all the same thoughts... especially the accents. And that the women weren't wearing enough makeup... It message was great though. Do you, by chance, listen to "This American Life". If so, I want to talk about an episode from a few weeks back and if not, you should... its good stuff...