A social media warning advises readers against traveling to the Sunny Beach resort in Bulgaria because it is being used for human trafficking.
The warning also advises any women who are planning on visiting to cancel their trip. An example can be seen below.
WARNING !!!!! If anyone is traveling to Bulgaria sunny beach especially women, you need to be very aware that you are at high risk of been taken by corrupt men and used to be trafficked. I would definitely advise if u are a female and traveling there anytime soon to cancel your trip, my two sisters have had a lucky escape and are home safe thank god. This is the hotel and their corrupt manager which are all involved in their vile scheme, HOTEL MARVEL SUNNY BEACH, PLEASE SHARE SCUMBAGS !!!!!
This warning serves as a classic example of the dangers of spreading unverified information on social media. The accusations made in the message are extremely serious, yet fail to back up any of the claims with a reputable source.
Accusations of criminal activity – especially one of such a serious nature like this – need to be investigated by the authorities to ensure they contain truth or substance and then the authorities can make any appropriate warnings or take any punitive action. Social media rumours are not backed up or verified, meaning anyone can say anything that may be completely false yet still would have the ability to tarnish a reputation.
As we researched this claim, we found no evidence or sources that verified the claims in the warning nor could we find any reports or reputable warnings suggesting women are going missing from this popular tourist resort. We also found a number of comments from works of the Sunny Beach resort and nearby venues dismissing the claims as unsubstantiated.
Concerned holiday-makers can always check their county’s foreign or tourism office for safety and security advice. For example, the UK foreign office – as it has done with many Eastern European countries – has issued a number of safety points for Bulgaria, many specific to the Sunny Beach resort, including warnings pickpocketing and assaults, but makes no warning about organised human trafficking, much less human trafficking that involves the owners or management of the resort.
Tourists are targeted by thieves and pickpockets in Sunny Beach and other resorts. Don’t take valuables to the beach and be wary of poorly lit roads around the resort at night. There has been an increase in burglaries from hotel rooms in Sunny Beach. Make sure you lock your room (including windows and balcony doors) and keep your valuables locked in a safe. Don’t change money on the streets in Sunny Beach, only at licensed exchange points, banks or hotels.
Prostitution is not illegal in Bulgaria however we have received numerous reports of pickpocketing, muggings and assaults of British nationals by prostitutes and their minders. Avoid areas where prostitutes operate especially late at night, including car parks, the beach, badly lit areas and areas with bushes and trees. Stick to main routes and avoid alleys and short cuts in Sunny Beach.
While social media can act as a great way to disseminate warnings, such warnings must have a valid reason to be believed, and the mere fact alone that they are on social media is not good enough. Fake warnings designed to discredit people or establishments are common, and if a claim is as serious as the subject matter in question, then this is a matter for the authorities to investigate and consequently warn holiday-goers if necessary.