Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 13:28 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Hungary

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Hungary, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d80c17.html [accessed 18 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Hungary (Tier 2)

Hungary is primarily a transit, and secondarily a source and destination country, for women and children trafficked from Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, and the Balkans to Western Europe and the United States for sexual exploitation. Men from Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan reportedly are also trafficked through Hungary to Europe and the United States for forced labor. The Hungarian Government estimates that as many as 150,000 victims transit Hungary each year.

The Government of Hungary does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While the government has sharpened its focus on trafficking issues, in practice, victim assistance remains weak. The country lacks a formal process for enforcement officials to identify victims, refer them to NGOs, and ensure they receive adequate services. The government should train border officials to better distinguish trafficking from smuggling, and to interview victims more effectively. Additionally, the Hungarian Government should improve trafficking data collection efforts.

Prosecution

Trafficking is criminalized in Hungary with sufficiently severe penalties. In 2003, Hungarian authorities arrested nine suspected traffickers. The Hungarian Prosecutor's Office prosecuted 22 individuals under the trafficking in persons law; 18 of the 22 were convicted. Of the 18 convict-ed, authorities sentenced 12 to prison; the others were given suspended sentences. Additionally, the Interior Ministry in 2003 investigated 22 new trafficking cases. Trafficking-related corruption remains a problem. The government established the International Center for Cooperation in Criminal Affairs to better facilitate cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies. It is also working to revise bilateral cooperative agreements on combating organized crime, coordinating with Europol via a liaison officer and, participating in organizations such as the Southeastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI), the Stability Pact, and the Council of Europe.

Protection

The Government of Hungary provides limited assistance to trafficking victims. Victims who cooperate with police and prosecutors are entitled to assistance such as temporary residency status, short-term relief from deportation, and access to shelter. In practice, services are limited and not generally provided to victims. Border guards often fail to distinguish between trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. Trafficking victims are often detained, deported, or prosecuted for the violation of other laws, such as those relating to prostitution or illegal immigration. The Victim Protection Office – established by the Ministry of Interior – operates in 46 localities, but assisted only six trafficking victims in 2003. Hungarian consular officials are provided training in counter-trafficking. Repatriated victims have rights to the range of social services available to all Hungarians, but no specialized assistance or support is provided.

Prevention

The government provides modest funding for prevention programs. With the assistance of the IOM, the Education Ministry continued to implement a national prevention program in secondary schools, but no statistics indicate the number of schools that use the anti-trafficking materials. The National Crime Prevention Center established a task force in June 2003 to collect and analyze trafficking data. The Government of Hungary has not yet adopted a national strategy on combating trafficking in persons.

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