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HUNGARY (Tier 2)

The Government of Hungary does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.  The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Hungary remained on Tier 2.  The government created a network of specialized prosecutors at the county level and introduced a new provision outlining prosecutors’ responsibilities relating to investigations.  The government developed guidance on identifying foreign trafficking victims and a questionnaire with trafficking-related questions for asylum interviews.  Furthermore, the government assisted significantly more child trafficking victims, allocated more funding toward the victim support system, and opened two new victim support centers for adult victims and two new interdisciplinary centers for child victims.  Moreover, the government adopted a new national anti-trafficking strategy and a new law regulating companies employing third-country nationals aimed at preventing the flow of labor into the black and grey economy and reducing the risk of foreign workers becoming trafficking victims.  However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.  The government’s trafficking victim identification mechanism did not apply to foreign victims without legal residency.  As a result, government officials did not adequately screen for trafficking indicators or identify victims among third-country nationals, such as asylum-seekers, as well as other vulnerable populations, including unaccompanied children and children in state-run institutions.  Overall assistance for victims remained scarce, particularly for foreigners, and uncoordinated, resulting in many trafficking victims not receiving assistance.  Finally, the government re-extended the “crisis situation due to mass migration” authorizing police to automatically remove third-country nationals intercepted for unlawfully entering and/or staying in Hungary without screening for trafficking indicators; some of these third-country nationals could be or become trafficking victims.

  • Increase efforts to prosecute alleged traffickers.
  • Screen for trafficking indicators and proactively identify potential victims, especially among vulnerable populations, such as migrants and asylum-seekers, unaccompanied children, and children in state-run institutions and orphanages.
  • Expand the NRM to formally include foreign victims without legal residency.
  • Ensure all victims receive victim support services by increasing availability, particularly for foreigners, and coordination among authorities involved in the referral process.
  • Cease the abrupt and violent removal of third-country nationals who could be or could become trafficking victims and train authorities to recognize indicators of trafficking among vulnerable groups.
  • Allocate adequate funding to NGOs for victim services and streamline the process for receiving those funds.
  • Bolster efforts to protect children residing in state-run institutions and individuals who leave these institutions against trafficking.
  • Ensure trafficking victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
  • Amend the anti-trafficking law to ensure that force, fraud, or coercion are not required for sex trafficking crimes involving child victims.
  • Develop a clear framework for and allocate dedicated resources to regulate foreign labor recruitment in Hungary.
  • Empower the labor authority to regulate labor recruitment agencies and impose fines or punishments on agencies that commit trafficking crimes.
  • Increase victim-centered, trauma-informed training for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and front-line workers.

The government increased prosecution efforts.  Section 192 of the criminal code criminalized all forms of labor trafficking and some forms of sex trafficking.  Section 192 prescribed penalties of one to 10 years’ imprisonment for crimes involving an adult victim, and five to 20 years’ or life imprisonment for those involving a child victim.  These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.  Legislative amendments from 2020 helped align the Hungarian definition of trafficking with the international definition by more precisely defining exploitation and including force, fraud, or coercion as an essential element of the base crime of adult trafficking.  However, inconsistent with international law, the amended Section 192 required a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion to constitute a child sex trafficking crime, thereby not criminalizing all forms of child sex trafficking.  Judicial officials continued to assert the law implicitly established that force, fraud, or coercion were not required to constitute child sex trafficking, and that this therefore was not a barrier in successfully prosecuting and obtaining convictions in child sex trafficking cases.  Section 203 of the criminal code, which criminalized crimes relating to the “exploitation of child prostitution,” could be utilized to prosecute some child sex trafficking crimes that did not necessarily involve force, fraud, or coercion.  Section 203 prescribed penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment, which were not sufficiently stringent nor commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape.  Penalties under this provision increased only if a person was “supported partly or wholly by profiting” from such exploitation of a child or for maintaining or operating a brothel for the purposes of such exploitation of a child.  Additionally, Section 193 criminalized forced labor, with sentences ranging from one to five years’ imprisonment for crimes involving an adult victim and two to eight years’ imprisonment for those involving a child victim.  The 2020 amendments criminalized all forms of labor trafficking, including forced labor, under Section 192, thus, superseding Section 193.  However, authorities continued to prosecute and convict traffickers under Section 193 in 2022 (for cases that started prior to the 2020 amendment).  Observers noted a gap in the law remained that could allow the prosecution of a victim if that victim consented to the crime without coercion.  The Office of the Prosecutor General (PGO) instructed prosecutors not to prosecute such victims.

The government data on trafficking cases contained some inconsistencies with previous years’ data; therefore, year-to-year data was not comparable.  In 2022, police registered 219 trafficking crimes (193 sex trafficking, 24 labor trafficking, two unspecified forms of trafficking), a multi-year increase from 132 in 2021 and 95 in 2020.  Officials prosecuted 180 suspected traffickers, a notable decrease from 255 in 2021.  Courts convicted 67 traffickers, a significant increase from 15 in 2021 and 10 in 2020.  All convicted traffickers received prison sentences, ranging from six months’ to 15 years’ imprisonment; courts suspended 15 of those sentences.  Additionally, the government noted prosecutorial guidelines issued in 2018 resulted in a number of pandering cases reclassified as trafficking cases.  The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in trafficking crimes.  Authorities cooperated with foreign law enforcement agencies and counterparts on several judicial requests, 44 international investigations, three Joint Investigation Teams (JIT), and seven extraditions in 2022.  Most frequent information exchanges were with Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), and Ukraine.  In one JIT, Hungarian and UK authorities cooperated on a sex trafficking case involving Hungarian nationals exploited in the UK by members of an organized crime group.  The investigation identified 13 victims and eight suspects based on financial intelligence, mobile telecommunication data, and registration data of sexual advertisements on adult service websites in the UK, among other evidence.  Under the auspices of an EU operation, authorities investigated a sex trafficking case and conducted a joint action day with German authorities, targeting members of an organized crime group suspected of trafficking crimes, which resulted in the apprehension of three suspected traffickers and identification of 20 Hungarian victims.  Authorities also participated in two other joint action days: one against labor trafficking, resulting in 19 suspects arrested and eight victims identified; and another against sex and labor trafficking, resulting in 10 suspects arrested and 13 victims identified.

The National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) maintained a specialized unit dedicated to investigating trafficking cases with an international or organized crime connection.  Six regional investigation units with nationwide jurisdiction within the Transnational Crime Department of NBI also worked on trafficking investigations on a case-by-case basis.  In general, county police with territorial jurisdiction conducted trafficking investigations.  Police maintained anti-trafficking senior supervisor officers in all 20 county police headquarters to increase detection of trafficking and direct the investigative work in trafficking cases.  The National Police Headquarters provided professional supervision, guidance, and training for the county police headquarters.  Police credited enhanced training to shifting how officers viewed and approached trafficking, stating that police began to approach individuals in commercial sex as potential trafficking victims instead of suspects or criminals.  Educational efforts supported by the government for law enforcement included trainings on detecting and investigating trafficking cases, financial investigations, trauma-informed approaches, and working with child victims.  Police unions stressed the need for more resources, such as surveillance tools and personnel.  In addition to reports police forces did not have adequate personnel for all functions, including addressing trafficking, capacity was significantly strained by the influx of refugees entering Hungary following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  Moreover, media outlets reported significant dissatisfaction among police and emergency workers over more restrictive work conditions, including long hours, rotations at the Hungary-Serbia border to stem migrant flow, and noncompetitive wages.  The government maintained the financial and personnel capacities of the police were currently sufficient.

County-level chief prosecution offices filed charges and motions for arrest in trafficking cases, and the PGO provided professional supervision, guidance, and training for subordinate prosecution offices.  As part of the NAP, the government created a network of specialized prosecutors at the county level and introduced a new provision outlining prosecutors’ responsibilities relating to preliminary procedures, supervision, and direction of investigations.  The provision required county chief prosecutors to designate a prosecutor with expertise to handle trafficking cases and related crimes, such as procuring commercial sex.  The provision required the designated prosecutor to support local-level district prosecution offices in identifying potential trafficking cases qualified as other crimes at the beginning of criminal proceedings and to cooperate with police, child protection services, the labor inspectorate, county-level victim support services, and NGOs, including shelters.  According to police, prosecutors’ offices, and the courts, while there was no trafficking-specific budget within these organizational units, financial resources were sufficient to cover trafficking-related tasks.  In 2022, the government provided a range of trafficking-related trainings for judges, prosecutors, investigators, and professionals, including lectures on the sociological and criminological characteristics of trafficking and a series of workshops on working on trafficking cases, which allowed participants to rehearse practical cooperation through case studies.

The government slightly increased protection efforts.  The government identified 223 victims, a notable increase from 171 in 2021.  Of these victims, 41 were children (24 in 2021), and four were foreign nationals (eight in 2021).  Government Decree no. 354/2012 established the NRM and regulated the identification of victims and their referral to assistance.  The decree included the authorities responsible for identifying victims, such as police, border guards, and health professionals; a questionnaire to be completed with suspected victims; and procedural protocols.  The decree also included a list of trafficking indicators and flowcharts – one for victims in Hungary and another for Hungarian victims abroad – to assist with the identification of victims and management of trafficking cases.  In 2022, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) provided updated guidance on identification, referral, and victim assistance.  Experts continued to express concern the decree did not apply to foreign victims without legal residency and noted the government did not screen or adequately identify victims among vulnerable populations, such as asylum-seekers, unaccompanied children, and children in state-run institutions.  Subsequently, in 2022, the government developed guidance on identifying foreign trafficking victims and a questionnaire with trafficking-related questions for asylum interviews.  After identification and procurement of victims’ written consent, authorities recorded victims’ information into the government’s digital victim support system (EKAT), which provided information on support services, such as placement in shelters.  The Victim Support Act automatically entitled all victims of crime to support services unless they explicitly asked authorities not to record their personal data into EKAT. NGOs said the police had intensified efforts in identification, referral, and assistance, but NGOs and social service providers continued to base the process on their personal networks and connections, while MOI reported most identifications were made by the police.  NGOs expressed the need for the government to allocate more effectively its resources, particularly in the identification and referral of victims.  They also continued to criticize the law that required the State Audit Office to report on organizations that were “capable of influencing public life” and had a certain budget as it negatively impacted state funding for victim assistance.  Overall, victim assistance remained scarce, particularly for foreigners, and uncoordinated and exposed survivors to the risk of re-victimization.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) oversaw the victim support system, which included victim support services, centers, and a hotline, and allocated approximately 1.08 billion Hungarian forint (HUF) ($2.88 million) for the operation and development of the system, an increase from 934 million HUF ($2.49 million) in 2021.  These expenditures were for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, including trafficking.  All Hungarian and EU victims were eligible for support services, including government-provided financial support, psychological services, legal assistance, witness care, and shelter.  In 2022, of the 223 identified trafficking victims, the government provided shelter to only 82 victims (37 percent), compared with 91 of 171 (53 percent) in 2021.  While other victims did not need or request sheltered housing, they could have received other services, but the government did not report that data.  Thirty-one victims assisted were children, a significant increase from three children assisted in 2021, and, with the exception of one victim, all children were Hungarian citizens.  In 2022, government-funded NGOs operated three shelters that provided accommodation, transportation, reintegration assistance, family care, financial management advice, and medical care.  Each shelter had two associated transitional houses that established and strengthened independent living and continued to provide assistance from social workers, psychologists, and lawyers.  In addition, a crisis intervention home was available for victims in serious danger and distress, providing time for recovery and rest while victim support specialists assessed their situation, needs, and vulnerability.  The MOJ continued to build a nationwide network of victim support centers by opening two more in 2022, making services available in 10 county capitals and Budapest, with nationwide coverage projected by 2025.  In areas where the centers were unavailable, the MOJ opened victim support “hot-spots” (two in 2022) to facilitate implementation of victim support.  The centers and “hot-spots” assisted victims of domestic abuse and other crimes, including trafficking.  The government allocated 74.9 million HUF ($199,930) to NGOs for the shelters, crisis intervention home, and half-way houses, and an additional 14 million HUF ($37,370) for the maintenance of four rescue cars.  Overall, government funding for NGO services was limited.  NGOs often had to rely on funding from private companies or religious organizations or find tender opportunities to ensure their continued operation.  In 2022, the government and an NGO continued to implement a two-year project aimed at providing potential trafficking victims with reintegration support.  By the end of the implementation period in 2022, a total of 68 victims received assistance.  The government partially funded the project, contributing 25 million HUF ($66,730).  Under the auspices of the project, each victim was eligible for up to 500,000 HUF ($1,340) in financial support.  Additionally, in 2022, the government and an international organization implemented a return and reintegration project co-financed by the Internal Security Fund of the EU and the Hungarian MOI.  The project aimed at improving and consolidating the provision of assistance to victims for their voluntary returns and sustainable reintegration and preventing re-victimization.  In 2022, the project ensured the safe return of 13 Hungarian citizens, most of whom were sex trafficking victims.  The Victim Support Act allowed victims of violent crimes, such as trafficking, to receive compensation.  While the NRM did not apply to foreign victims without legal residency, the government granted ad hoc approval to a government-funded NGO to provide services, such as financial support, shelter, and health care, in cases when the NGO requested it.  Foreign victims could receive a 30-day reflection period to decide whether to assist law enforcement, during which they were eligible for a certificate of temporary stay for up to six months.  Those who cooperated with authorities were entitled to a residence permit for the duration of their cooperation.  In 2022, one Mozambican woman and her child held a humanitarian residence permit.  The law required the government to provide 22,800 HUF ($61) per month for one year to third-country nationals who were trafficking victims.  In 2022, the government paid one victim.  The law also required the government to provide trafficking victims who were identified during the asylum process with immediate psychological or psychiatric assistance through its reception facility, and, if necessary, accommodation through victim support services.

The law stipulated the government utilized the Barnahus method – a multidisciplinary and interagency approach offering child victims a coordinated and effective response during investigations and court proceedings.  The approach enabled authorities to clarify all aspects of a case by carrying out crisis intervention, medical and forensic examination, and interviews in one place, thus, protecting child victims from the traumatizing effects of multiple witness testimonies and other risks related to criminal proceedings.  In 2022, the government opened two new Barnahus centers, extending the total to five in country.  Also, in 2022, the government partially funded a study on the requirements, such as infrastructure investment, to establish a shelter dedicated to child trafficking victims and planned commencement in 2023.  The law included a general protection measure for child trafficking victims, requiring police to place potential victims in designated shelters for up to 60 days to protect them from further exploitation.  There were five such shelters (one exclusively for boys), providing access to health care and psychological support, such as rehabilitation support and therapy.  During the 60 days, the National Child Protection Expert Committee decided whether victims would be placed in a long-term shelter or returned to their family or the previous institution where they lived.  One NGO criticized the general protection measure for its lack of flexibility in real-world situations and noted with the establishment of a dedicated children’s shelter, the measure would become obsolete.  In addition, experts criticized the chronic lack of assistance and specialized services for child trafficking victims.  Experts continued to express concern children in state-run homes and orphanages, especially children with disabilities, such as girls with special needs or dual needs, were particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking – approximately 23,000 children lived in state-run institutions, including 300 younger than three years of age.  EU and national requirements required child protection institutions and state-run homes to report all suspected cases of children exploited in sex trafficking; however, according to observers, some law enforcement did not treat them as victims.  While authorities typically did not penalize child victims for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked, in 2022, authorities reported issuing a warning to a child trafficking victim for criminal activity.  After the superior prosecutor’s office reviewed the case, they removed the warning.  In another case involving an adult victim charged for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, the prosecutor’s office had not determined if they would terminate proceedings as of the end of the reporting period.  Experts questioned the accuracy of government data on the penalization of children noting children were most likely detained by authorities for short periods of time.  In 2022, MOI prepared a comprehensive handbook with recommendations for family and child welfare services staff on recognizing trafficking indicators and providing meaningful assistance to victims.  Through the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, child protection professionals received a 30-hour vocational training on child trafficking.  Additionally, the Ministry of Culture and Innovation) provided 16.6 million HUF ($44,310) to an NGO to provide programs in orphanages for the prevention and treatment of child sex trafficking.  The government operated a 24-hour child protection hotline, which received one alert in connection with a potential child sex trafficking victim in state care.

The government increased prevention efforts.  The National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator facilitated anti-trafficking efforts domestically and internationally and chaired the National Coordination Mechanism, which monitored the implementation of the national anti-trafficking strategy.  In 2022, the government adopted a new NAP for the 2020-2023 national anti-trafficking strategy.  The NAP assigned financial and operational responsibility to various government agencies and ministries and outlined strategic objectives, such as supporting the safe return and reintegration of victims abroad and developing specialized services for male victims.  The government allocated approximately 353 million HUF ($942,260) toward implementation of those objectives.  NGOs applauded the inclusion of civil society recommendations in the NAP, acknowledging the positive development, but noted the lack of a systemic approach in the government’s anti-trafficking framework.  In 2022, the National Police Headquarters and the National University of Public Service launched a professional forum on child trafficking; conducted regular meetings, composed of police, child protection and social care service, MOJ representatives, NGOs, and healthcare and educational institutions; and coordinated on anti-trafficking activities to reduce the victimization of children and young adults, detect and investigate cases, and refer victims to assistance.  The police continued to raise awareness among children on the dangers of trafficking through a theatrical performance and drama pedagogy sessions and among academic and child protection institutions.  In addition, the government conducted several other awareness campaigns, including a podcast promoting victim support services and help cards with quick response codes for accessing information and support services instantly.  The government supported the operation of an NGO-run, 24-hour national hotline, allocating approximately 202.5 million HUF ($540,530).  The hotline provided services in multiple languages and assisted victims of domestic violence and trafficking.  In 2022, the hotline assisted victims in 53 cases and referred 36 victims to shelter.  Experts from the hotline provided training for police on dealing with trafficking crimes and the victim support system.  The government made efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts by prosecuting two individuals in connection with purchasing commercial sex involving girls as young as 12 years old.  The government also conducted a nationwide awareness campaign addressing and discouraging demand; the campaign included social media posts, collaboration with influencers, press releases, radio spots, short movies, and city light posters.  The MOI concluded a research project on the effectiveness of victim assistance among male labor trafficking victims and published a handbook on the findings.

In 2022, the government adopted a new law regulating companies employing numerous third-country nationals and specialized staff to prevent the flow of labor into the black and grey economy and reduce the risk of foreign workers becoming trafficking victims.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade published the list of approved countries from which foreign labor was possible under the law and was responsible for regulating those companies.  Hungarian law prohibited recruitment fees by private employment agencies, regulated employers’ compliance with labor laws, and detailed the law’s enforcement by the labor inspection authority, including punitive administrative sanctions prohibiting the further employment of workers and fines.  The labor inspection authority did not have the competency to inspect labor recruitment agencies or impose fines or punishments on foreign labor exchange agencies that committed trafficking crimes, but it could assess agencies’ compliance with regulations concerning temporary work.  The Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the National Police signed a three-year cooperation agreement authorizing police and labor inspectors to conduct regular and coordinated joint labor inspections, averaging one unannounced inspection per month in each of Hungary’s counties through the end of 2023.  Authorities targeted high-risk sectors and environments and, in 2022, identified two trafficking victims.  In addition, the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing, police, and labor authority screened for trafficking indicators among foreign employees while conducting site inspections.  Public procurement law banned government agencies from contracting with any person or company convicted of trafficking crimes.  The MOI and an international organization conducted a conference on human trafficking in the context of migration; more than 30 countries and international organizations participated.  The conference covered, among other topics, the latest trends, challenges related to the identification, screening procedures, best practices, and protection structures of the countries along migration routes.

In response to the influx of refugees fleeing Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the MOI printed and distributed information in Ukrainian and Hungarian at border crossings, shelters, major train stations, municipal governments, and online, about potential schemes by traffickers, trafficking risks, and accommodations for victims.  Additionally, NBI’s anti-trafficking unit participated in Joint Action Days to identify criminal networks attempting to recruit Ukrainian refugees via websites, social media platforms, and the dark web.  The unit, under the lead of EUROPOL, joined a new initiative enabling a company operating an online marketplace for short-term homestays and experiences to directly alert the central anti-trafficking units of Member States to short-term bookings in countries neighboring Ukraine that raised the suspicion of trafficking.  Furthermore, the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing cooperated with national organizations with expertise in child protection to promote available helplines and assistance tools and posted information on its website about identifying potential victims among unaccompanied children and their rights to temporary protection.  Government officials noted only 16 unaccompanied minors had entered Hungary since the start of the war, and all were placed in orphanages.  Officials also noted there were no known trafficking cases or identified victims among refugees fleeing Ukraine.  Observers reported, despite notable public humanitarian efforts, the government’s focus was helping refugees move on to a third country rather than preparing them for longer-term integration into Hungarian society with employment, education, and housing.  Observers also reported the government relied heavily on several Hungarian humanitarian organizations but did not coordinate well with international organizations.

Media and international organizations alleged authorities indiscriminately and often violently deported asylum-seekers and a report on protecting rights at borders criticized the government for violent pushbacks of refugees and migrants into Serbia.  In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled automatic pushbacks of asylum-seekers carried out by the Hungarian authorities were in breach of the prohibition of collective expulsion enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.  Similarly, the European Court of Justice declared the practice to be in violation of EU law.  Furthermore, UNHCR “deplored” the government’s decision to extend the “state of emergency due to mass migration,” which authorized police to automatically remove third-country nationals who had been intercepted for unlawfully entering and/or staying in Hungary; these individuals could be or could become trafficking victims due to their increased vulnerability.  The government had renewed the “crisis situation caused by mass migration” every six months since 2015; most recently, the government declared a separate state of danger due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  Experts expressed concern the “crisis situation caused by mass migration” allowed the government to deny people already in the country and in need of international protection, access to asylum.  Since 2020, the government required asylum-seekers to submit asylum requests through foreign embassies; requests required asylum-seekers to submit a statement of intent with answers to general questions that did not include trafficking-specific questions.  NGOs expressed concern that the system restricted access to asylum and exacerbated the risks of trafficking among asylum-seekers.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Hungary, and traffickers exploit victims from Hungary abroad.  Vulnerable groups include Hungarians in extreme poverty, undereducated young adults, single mothers, asylum-seekers, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQI+ community, children living in state-run institutions, homeless men, and Roma.  Roma, the country’s largest ethnic minority, make up a significant proportion of those identified as trafficking victims.  Traffickers typically operate in small groups based on common interests or familial ties and tend to recruit girls from their own families.  Traffickers continued to use the “lover-boy” recruitment method through which they seduce girls to willingly run away from their homes, gradually isolate them from society, and then, through different methods and forms of control, force them into commercial sex.  Reports indicate traffickers increasingly use the internet and social media to recruit victims and advertise children for commercial sex.  Children in government-run institutions, particularly girls, remain vulnerable to sex trafficking.  Approximately 23,000 Hungarian children live in state-run childcare institutions, including 300 children younger than three years of age.  The government reports adolescent girls with mild intellectual disabilities and/or special needs, including dissocial behavior, psychoactive substance abuse, or psychiatric conditions, who are living in state-run institutions, are the most vulnerable to sex trafficking.  While the vast majority of identified victims are Hungarian female sex trafficking victims, traffickers exploit Hungarian women, boys, and girls in sex trafficking within the country and abroad, mostly within Europe, with main destination countries including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK.  Authorities have recently discerned a new pattern toward the Nordic region, particularly in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.  In 2022, nearly half of all trafficking cases took place abroad.  Sex trafficking remains the most common form of trafficking in Hungary, but cases of labor trafficking are gradually increasing.  Traffickers subject Hungarians to labor trafficking in agriculture, construction, hospitality, and factories.  Reports indicate an increase in the number of domestic labor trafficking victims 25 to 59 years old.  NGOs report domestic labor trafficking remains a concern, particularly in rural areas, among Ukrainians and other third-country nationals who come to Hungary to assist with the country’s labor shortage.  While seasonal workers are at risk for labor trafficking in the agriculture and construction sectors, the majority of victims are Hungarian citizens, particularly adult men who are exploited by family members and acquaintances in domestic servitude and agricultural work, such as cleaning, landscaping, and farming.  Trafficking victims from Eastern European countries, as well as asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants, some of whom may be or may become trafficking victims, transit Hungary en route to Western Europe.  More than two million refugees, predominantly women and children, fleeing Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and arriving in Hungary, are highly vulnerable to trafficking.  Reports indicate hundreds of thousands more entered Hungary via the Romanian border.  In 2022, Hungary experienced a severe drought, reducing income for agricultural sector workers and creating vulnerable situations.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future