Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Hungary

HUNGARY (Tier 1)

Hungary is primarily a transit and, to a lesser extent, a source and destination country for women and girls trafficked from Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, the Balkans, and China for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. While some of these trafficking victims are exploited in Hungary, most are trafficked on to Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Mexico. Roma women and girls remain highly vulnerable to internal sex trafficking. Trafficking experts report that the average age of victims in Hungary is decreasing.

The Government of Hungary fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2007, the government demonstrated improved law enforcement efforts by increasing the number of trafficking investigations and ensuring a majority of traffickers serve time in prison – a significant improvement from 2006. Hungary also improved efforts to combat labor trafficking and significantly increased government funding for victim assistance during the reporting period. In March 2008, the government passed its national strategy, creating a national coordinator to manage all anti-trafficking efforts.

Recommendations for Hungary: Continue to ensure the majority of convicted traffickers serve time in prison; continue sensitivity training for patrol officers to ensure proactive victim identification and appropriate, humane treatment of identified victims; increase the number of victims referred by police for social assistance; and conduct a campaign to reduce domestic demand for commercial sex acts.


The Hungarian government demonstrated improved law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Hungary prohibits all forms of trafficking through Paragraph 175/b of its criminal code, though prosecutors rely on trafficking-related statutes to prosecute most trafficking cases. Penalties prescribed in Paragraph 175/b range from one to 15 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2007, police and border guards conducted 48 trafficking investigations, up from 22 trafficking investigations in 2006. Authorities prosecuted 20 traffickers in 2007, compared with 23 in 2006. Convictions were obtained against 17 traffickers in 2007 – 14 for sex trafficking and three for labor trafficking – compared with 21 convictions in 2006. Sixteen traffickers were sentenced to some time in prison, a significant improvement from 2006 when only nine out of 21 convicted traffickers served time in prison. During the reporting period, six traffickers were sentenced to 18 to 20 months' imprisonment, three traffickers were sentenced to two years' imprisonment, four traffickers were sentenced to three to four years' imprisonment, and three traffickers were sentenced to five years' imprisonment.


Hungary enhanced its victim assistance efforts during the reporting period. The government provided $132,000 in funding for NGOs providing victim assistance including shelter, medical care, legal assistance, and psychological counseling; in 2006, the government provided more than $50,000 for victim assistance. In 2007, NGOs assisted 45 trafficking victims, 37 of whom were referred by government officials, compared to 23 victims referred and assisted in 2006. NGOs reported continued improvement of law enforcement to identify and assist victims; historically, poor victim treatment or failure to identify potential victims of trafficking has been an issue among street and low-level police. Victims were not penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. There were no reported cases of mistreatment of trafficking victims by authorities. The government encouraged victims to assist with trafficking investigations and prosecutions; however, few victims chose to participate due to lack of information provided to them, language barriers, and fear of retribution by traffickers. In July 2007, the government formally enacted a law granting foreign victims a 30-day reflection period to decide whether to assist law enforcement. Victims may apply for a six-month temporary residency permit if they choose to cooperate with law enforcement; there were no data available on the number of permits granted to trafficking victims during the reporting period.


Hungary demonstrated mixed progress in its efforts to prevent incidents of human trafficking throughout the year. The government did not take measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Instead, it took steps – with EU assistance – to incorporate adult prostitution into the legal economy by requiring women in prostitution to pay taxes and make social security contributions. The government provided approximately $28,000 to IOM to conduct an anti-trafficking awareness campaign targeted at vulnerable populations; the campaign was advertised on animation flash screens installed on the sides of public buses and on approximately 70,000 pocket-sized information cards and postcards distributed in bars, restaurants, cinemas, clubs, and entertainment establishments. Hungary actively monitors immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. Hungarian troops received trafficking awareness training prior to their deployment for international peacekeeping missions. Hungarian law permits the extraterritorial prosecution of Hungarian nationals who travel abroad to engage in child sex tourism. There is no evidence that Hungary is a source or destination for child sex tourism.

Hungary tier ranking by year


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