A report recently published by the US State Department has blasted Hungary for serious shortcomings in the fight against trafficking in persons. The document points out that although every fifth victim of European human traffickers is Hungarian , the country’s social system does very little in the field of prevention and assistance to victims is insufficient.
The Trafficking in Persons Report, which reflects the human trafficking situation in the year 2014 and devotes a section to each country concerned in the issue as source, transit and destination for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, including Hungary. It points out, however, that trafficking in persons is connected mainly to forced labour and prostitution in Hungary.
Those living in extreme poverty, as well as the Roma and the homeless, are overrepresented among victims, with women and children typically being sold off as prostitutes, largely to Switzerland and the Netherlands, while men were identified by authorities primarily as victims of forced labour. Traffickers mostly target young people in difficult situations after being discharged from state care or correctional facilities or other reasons, while most victims trafficked to Hungary are from Romania. These are largely children who are forced to beg or commit petty crime.
According to Europol figures, close to one-fifth of all European victims of trafficking in persons were from Hungary between 2009 and 2013. Despite the report’s diplomatic language, it is apparent that the State Department believes that Hungary has not done enough to combat trafficking in persons and provide assistance to victims despite the magnitude of the issue, according to hvg.hu, which also points out the problem of Hungarian authorities identifying victims as perpetrators.
The State Department issued the following recommendations for Hungary in the fight against trafficking in persons:
– Increase victim assistance by continuing to expand shelter capacity in Hungary and ensure consistent funding for NGOs providing victim care;
– Ensure all repatriated victims are offered assistance; bolster protection for trafficking victims who face serious harm and retribution from their traffickers, including by developing longer-term care options to improve their reintegration in Hungary;
– Enhance the collection and reporting of reliable trafficking law enforcement data and the number of trafficking victims identified; take steps to increase incentives for victims’ voluntary cooperation with law enforcement;
– Ensure the Hungarian anti-trafficking law is fully harmonized with the definition of trafficking under the EU Directive 2011/36/ EU by more precisely defining exploitation (including child prostitution, forced prostitution, forced labor, begging, and the exploitation of criminal activities), and by ensuring that means of fraud, force, or coercion are required elements of the core offense of adult trafficking;
– Increase training of law enforcement and prosecutors.
via hvg.hu and state.gov