U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Hungary

Hungary (Tier 2)

Hungary is primarily a transit, and secondarily a source and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Foreign victims from Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria may be subject to exploitation in Hungary before being transited to Austria, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, and the United States. Men from Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan reportedly are trafficked through Hungary to European Union countries and the United States for forced labor.

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. The government is increasingly engaged with trafficking issues at its upper levels; however, lack of consistent prioritization within government ranks and insufficient cooperation between NGOs and government officials remained weaknesses in the past year.


The government provides some financial assistance to prevention programs. With the assistance of IOM, the Ministry of Education implemented a national preventive education program in secondary school curricula; and the Ministry of the Interior posted information brochures on victim protection in every police station. The government consulted with NGOs to provide anti-trafficking sensitivity training to police, border guards, and consular officials.


Trafficking is specifically criminalized in Hungary with penalties commensurate with other grave crimes, including more severe penalties in cases involving minors and organized crime. The Ministry of Interior and the Hungarian Office of Interpol report 34 arrests in 2002, and Prosecutors brought legal proceedings in 30 cases related to trafficking. In many instances, police and immigration officials refuse to investigate reports of missing women. Border guard corruption remains a problem, but police have arrested border guards for assisting human smugglers or traffickers. The government established the International Center for Co-operation in Criminal Affairs, signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with Europol, and participates in organizations contributing to cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Southeastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI), the Stability Pact, and the Council of Europe.


The Victim Protection Office, recently established by the Ministry of Interior, operates in 46 localities, where they provide psychological support services and legal advocacy for victims, and safeguard victims' rights. In theory, assistance with temporary residence status, short-term relief from deportation, and shelter assistance are available to trafficking victims who cooperate with police and prosecutors. However, in practice, the government only provides limited assistance to trafficking victims either directly or through assistance to NGOs. In many instances, potential victims are not accorded special rights or privileges, and may even be criminalized. There are no safe houses or other assistance programs to aid Hungarian victims of trafficking, although Hungarian victims would have access to the Hungarian social system.


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