General information: situation on trafficking in human beings
Hungary is primarily a country of origin and transit for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation, and a source country for men and women trafficked for labour exploitation. Arising from its geographical situation Hungary is a transit country of illegal migration, it lays in the crossroad of east-western and south-eastern migration.
Most of the identified victims were subjected to sexual exploitation. The vast majority of Hungarian women engaged in prostitution abroad are aged between 18 and 25. The perpetrators usually get them to work by means of deception.
In the context of sexual exploitation, the main destination countries continue to be Western European states, especially Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As a result of joint cooperation with the Dutch and Belgian authorities, Hungarian criminal groups were significantly forced out from these two countries. The perpetrators typically recruit victims in their neighbourhoods, from the poorer regions of the country, mainly targeting undereducated persons. The primary source counties are: Tolna, Baranya, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén counties.
As far as vulnerability to trafficking is concerned, trends in this regard remained largely unchanged compared to previous years. A more recent phenomenon with the wide availability of smart phones and access to the internet is that minor girls ran away with boyfriends they met online. In some cases, they even crossed the country’s borders, and became involved in prostitution, sometimes through their online acquaintances.
High-risk groups for trafficking include undereducated young adults residing in poor conditions or who had lived in state-provided welfare homes or juvenile correctional facilities previously. Most of the victims are single younger women. They have very few employment or higher education options, and often have very weak or non-existent family support networks. Regarding the suspected traffickers it can be established that they have low educational background, they are repeat offenders or already have criminal records, or tend to live solely from criminal activities.
Institutional, legal and policy framework to address trafficking in human beings
All forms of trafficking in human beings are prohibited in Hungary. The specific offence of trafficking in persons has existed since 1998, under crimes against personal freedom and human dignity.
Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA has been published on 5 April 2011, its transposition deadline was 6 April 2013. Hungary has accomplished its implementation obligations deriving from the Directive.
The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was signed by Hungary on 10 October 2007 and ratified by Act XVIII of 2013 on 4 April 2013, which entered into force on 1 August 2013.
Act C of 2012 on the Criminal Code entered into force on 1 July 2013. The New Criminal Code incorporates the criminal offence of trafficking in human beings which was harmonized with the Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA and with the legal provisions of the Palermo Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially woman and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
In 2020, three major amendments were made to the Criminal Code. The legal definitions of trafficking in human beings (Article 192) and forced labour (Article 193) are merged – a reasonable simplification of the regulation, since it’s conceptually a part to whole relation. At the same time, the penalty rates increase: the offense described in the standard case is punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years instead of 3 years. Consciously utilising the services or other activities of victims of human trafficking and forced labour will become punishable as well. In case of the use of child sexual services (Article 203) children are protected by means of higher penalty: “who pays for sexual intercourse with a minor under 18 years of age is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between 2 to 8 years”.
The Hungarian Government passed on 27 September 2012 the amendment of Act CXXXV of 2005 on Crime Victim Support and State Compensation. It introduced the concept of shelters as victim support service and authorized the Government to develop detailed regulation for the identification of human trafficking victims. The Act specifies the right to legal, social, financial and psychological assistance for victims of human trafficking. Article 9/A and Article 43(3) transposed sections 5 and 6 of the Council Directive 2004/81/EC (on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities).
Government Regulation No 354/2012 of 13 December 2012 on the identification system of victims of trafficking in human beings entered into force on 1 January 2013. The Regulation contains a non-exhaustive list of authorities taking part in the identification, explicitly naming the following: health service provider, health state administration body, personal care provider, public educational service provider, police, labor authority, consulate official, border police authority, the asylum authority, the victim support service, and following a recent amendment, legal aid services, and probation services. The regulation introduced the concept of voluntarily contributing bodies, meaning legal entities that are not sustained by the state or municipality, as well as organizations without legal entity that under their operation obtain knowledge on a person – holding a permit of free movement and residence – who is presumably a victim of human trafficking. The National Crisis Telephone Information Service provides information for the victims on the opportunities of being accommodated in safe shelters.
Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level
The framework for combating human trafficking was laid down by the Government Resolution 1018/2008 on the National Strategy against trafficking in human beings. The first strategy established a National Coordination Mechanism and appointed a national coordinator. The National Coordinator is the Deputy State Secretary for EU and International Relations of the Ministry of Interior. The Coordinator’s main role is to enhance Hungary’s counter trafficking efforts and to facilitate interaction between different state and non-state organizations in relation to the fight against human trafficking. The National Coordinator represents Hungary’s anti human trafficking response both at a national, at a European and international level.
The Coordinator chairs the meetings of both the National Coordination Mechanism, the main forum of cooperation of the relevant state organizations in Hungary; and since its formation in 2011, the informal NGO Roundtable.
The mission of these forums is increasing the effectiveness of the fight against trafficking in human beings, strengthening the cooperation and enhancing dialogue between the national coordinator and the concerned authorities. These working groups contribute to the mapping of areas of cooperation and help to avoid duplications.
National action plan
On 18 February 2020, the Government adopted Hungary's National Anti-Trafficking Strategy for 2020–2023 and its Action Plan for 2020–2021.
The strategy is based on the four pillars of the “4P” paradigm, namely prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership. During the drafting process, the proposals of the ministries and authorities as well as the suggestions of the non-governmental organizations involved in victim assistance were taken into account.
The measures in the strategy treat children, juveniles and women, including young women in public care, as particularly vulnerable groups. As people living in extreme poverty (especially women and girls, particularly of Roma origin) are a particularly vulnerable social group to sexual exploitation, raising awareness among them is crucial.
Cross-border cooperation to address trafficking in human beings
Given the trafficking trends in Hungary, law enforcement authorities participate in Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) with foreign partner authorities, typically from Western European destination countries. The National Bureau of Investigation currently takes part in a JIT with German and Romanian authorities; the cooperation is expected to extend into 2022.
The RAVOT-EUR project which ran from 2014 to 2016 established a Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) with two of the most notable countries of destination: Belgium and the Netherlands. During the project three professional workshops were held in the three partner countries, involving international experts in order to discuss best practices and the different needs, circumstances and capabilities. In addition to the workshops, experts took part in study visits during which they had the opportunity to learn about the work of the Hungarian, Dutch and Belgian authorities, the quality of the services provided, and the operation of the transnational referral mechanisms.
Following the spirit of the RAVOT-EUR project the Hungarian Government included the task of mapping and improving Swiss-Hungarian referral mechanism in the National Strategy Against Trafficking in Human Beings (2013-2016). During the implementation of this follow-up project in 2017, the existing national coordination and referral mechanisms have been mapped and a comprehensive database of services and service providers has been compiled. Identification, referral, assistance and protection practices for victims of trafficking have been outlined in partnership with governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in both the country of origin, Hungary and the country of destination, Switzerland. The aim of the project was to facilitate mutual understanding, cooperation and information exchange among professionals working in various fields related to the fight against trafficking and to establish the cornerstones of the Swiss-Hungarian transnational referral mechanism.
Relevant links to national authorities, institutions websites and other contacts
National Crisis Management and Information Telephone Service
Országos Kríziskezelő és Információs Telefonszolgálat (OKIT)
Telephone: +36 80 20 55 20
OKIT’s primary goal is to provide assistance to the victims of domestic violence, child abuse, prostitution and trafficking and, if necessary, arrange for their secure accommodation. The Telephone Service aims to provide non-stop 24 hour permanent access to every person being in trouble, facing danger and being in need of immediate assistance throughout the country as well as in abroad.
National rapporteur or equivalent mechanism
Appointed Anti-trafficking Coordinator
Mr. Mátyás HEGYALJAI Dr.
Ministry of Interior, Deputy State Secretary for EU and International Relations
Telephone: +36 (1) 441-1957 (Secretariat)
E-mail: email@example.com (Secretariat)
Fax: +36 (1) 441-1959 (Secretariat)
Anti-trafficking Contact point
Mr. Áron TÉSI,
Ministry of Interior, Department of European Cooperation
Telephone: +36 (1) 441-1079
Anti-trafficking Contact point
Mr. Márton Berkes
Ministry of Interior, Department of European Cooperation
Telephone: +36 (1) 999-4315
The National Coordinator, established in 2008, acts as equivalent mechanism to a National Rapporteur in Hungary. The National Coordinator is the Deputy State Secretary for EU and International Relations in the Ministry of Interior. His main role is to enhance Hungary’s counter trafficking efforts and to facilitate interaction between different State and non-State organisations in relation to the fight against human trafficking. He represents Hungary’s anti human trafficking response both at a national, at a European and at international level. The national coordinator chairs the meeting of the NCM which is the main forum of cooperation of the relevant organisations in Hungary. The work of the NCM has been complemented by the NGO Roundtable since December 2011 and is also chaired by the National Coordinator.
Hungarian National Police Headquarters (Országos Rendőr-főkapitányság: ORFK)
1139 Budapest, Teve u. 4-6.
Telephone: +36 80/201-303; (1) 443 5500
The Hungarian National Police Headquarters detects and investigates human trafficking cases that have a domestic nature and have no international component. It is implementing and participating in several anti-trafficking projects that focus on awareness-raising, training and international cooperation.
National Bureau of Investigation (Nemzeti Nyomozó Iroda: NNI), Trafficking in Human Beings Unit
1062 Budapest, Aradi u. 21-23.
Telephone: +36 1 443-5500; +36 80/201-303
The Bureau detects and investigates trafficking cases that have an international component and in exceptional cases, internal trafficking issues of a large scale or complex nature.
Civil society organisations
Chance for Families 2005 Foundation
Hungarian Baptist Aid
P.O.Box 241, Budapest H-1391
Telephone: +36 1 466-5978
Child Crisis Management Foundation
1364 Budapest, Pf. 125
Telephone: + 36 1 354-1029
White Ring Public Benefit Association
1055 Budapest, Szt. István krt. 1.
Telephone: +36 (1) 312–2287
Fax: +36 (1) 472–1162
Anonymous Ways Foundation (Névtelen Utak Alapítvány)
Postal address: 1367 Budapest Pf: 33.
Telephone: +36 70 664-9497
Anthropolis Association (Anthropolis Egyesület)
1146 Budapest, Thököly út 58-60. 2nd floor nr. 216-217.
Telephone: +36 (1) 7979-634; +36 (1) 7979-635
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
7623 Pécs, Szendrey Júlia u. 6.
Telephone: +36 (72) 315-083
Fax: +36 (72) 332-600
E-mail address: email@example.com
1089 Budapest, Orczy út 27.
International Organisation for Migration
1055 Budapest, Falk Miksa u. 8.
Telephone: +36 (1) 472-2500
Fax: +36 (1) 374 - 0532
UNHCR Hungary/ UNHCR Regional Representative for Central Europe
1027 Budapest, Felvinci út 27.
Telephone: +36 (1) 336-3060
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org