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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                          

Republic of Hungary

Hungary has made the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy, with a per capita income nearly two-thirds that of the EU-25 average. The private sector accounts for more than 80% of GDP.

The global financial crisis, declining exports, and low domestic consumption and fixed asset accumulation, dampened by government austerity measures, will result in a negative growth rate of about -1.5% to -2.5% in 2009.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Hungary

Hungary is a source, transit, and destination country for women trafficked from Romania and Ukraine to and through Hungary to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and the United Arab Emirates for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Experts noted a significant increase in trafficking within the country, mostly women from eastern Hungary trafficked to Budapest and areas along the Austrian border. Roma women and girls who grow up in Hungarian orphanages are highly vulnerable to internal sex trafficking. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009    Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Hungary.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Emergency hotline: 06/80-20-55-20

Police: 107 or 112 (international emergency line)

Country code: 36-



Human Rights Developments

Human Rights Watch: World Report 2002: Europe & Central Asia: Hungary

[accessed 14 July 2013]

[Long URL]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

The state response to human trafficking remained poor, with uneven enforcement of antitrafficking legislation, inadequate victim support services, and frequent police hostility toward women victims.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Hungary

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 8 June 2021]


Groups vulnerable to forced labor included those in extreme poverty, undereducated young adults, Roma, and homeless men and women. Hungarian men and women were subjected to forced labor domestically and abroad, and labor trafficking of Hungarian men in Western Europe occurred in agriculture, construction, and factories.


Through the end of 2018, the employment authority reported 10 cases, involving 17 children, of labor by children younger than 15.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Hungary is a transit point, source, and to a lesser extent, destination for trafficked persons, including women trafficked for prostitution. Prevention, coordination efforts, and processes to identify and support victims remain inadequate, while trafficking investigations and enforcement of relevant laws are unreliable.

10 family members charged in human-trafficking case

Adrian Morrow, The Canadian Press, October 8, 2010

[accessed 5 September 2014]

[accessed 9 February 2019]

Out of work and impoverished, the men from the town of Papa in western Hungary were offered jobs in Canada, where they believed they could start new lives or at least earn enough money to support their families back home.

The RCMP say the reality they faced after their new bosses picked them up from John C. Munro airport in Hamilton was far different: housed in the basements of their employers’ homes and fed scraps from the table, they were made to work long hours at construction sites for no money.

The family’s associates in Hungary would recruit the men and send them to Hamilton, where they were instructed to make false refugee claims and start collecting social assistance, police said. Officers said the men never saw a penny of their welfare cheques, which were taken by their employers.    With poor English skills and their employers watching over them often, the workers were unable to inform authorities, police said. The alleged traffickers are accused of threatening to harm the men’s families back home to ensure their obedience

Romanians arrested in Warsaw for human trafficking

Polskie Radio S.A., 11.05.2009

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Forty-two year old Olimpia T. and 45-year-old Miron T. are wanted for ‘renting’ handicapped people and forcing them to beg for money on the streets of Budapest, Hungary.

Underage prostitution arrests

Thomas Escritt, The Budapest Sun - Volume XIII, Issue 27, July 07, 2005

[accessed 21 April 2012]

Police in Szabolcs-Szatmár county have arrested three men who abducted two girls and forced them into prostitution.  The girls - aged 14 and 15 - were forced into a car in the eastern town of Nyíregyháza on June 20 and held captive in a flat.

Strategies for Combating Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

Vital Voices Global Partnership, September 15-17, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

A CRITICAL MOMENT IN HUNGARY’S DEVELOPMENT - As Hungary joins the European Union, Hungarian citizens and human rights experts fear that, with the opening of borders to the West, Hungary will increasingly become a destination country for human trafficking. It is therefore crucial that Hungary’s NGOs, government officials, and police officers be equipped with the tools necessary to fight this growing problem.

appendix v - Trafficking in Human Beings in Hungary

[access date unavailable]

II. HUNGARIAN LAW IN PRACTICE - As it was mentioned, the Hungarian legislation is responding to the requirement of the international standards. The number of trafficking cases under prosecution, however, is not very high. In 1999, there were only two cases registered, in 2000 11, in 2001 34, and in 2002 again 34 (the number of violations of personal freedom in connection with trafficking in human beings (Section 175 (2-3)) was 7 in 200, and 4 in 2001). The procedures are relatively long, their average length used to be 2-3 years. As on the level of prevention and combating of criminality, trafficking was not regarded as a real priority, and the hidden criminality is probably quite high, it is difficult to describe the reality of the present situation.

The Directorate against Organized Crime of the Police investigates trafficking cases connected with organized crime. There is an improving cooperation with foreign countries, to facilitate better police cooperation to combat organized crime and trafficking in human beings. The National Crime Prevention Centre has established a Coordination Committee against Trafficking in Human Beings, and this committee just has started to elaborate a more comprehensive strategy on combat against this phenomenon.

Preying On Children - The Number Of Kids Trafficked Into Virtual Slavery In Europe Is On The Rise

Newsweek, November 17, 2003

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Worried that trafficking will only grow in the years ahead, Europe knows a more coordinated approach is needed. Last year's Brussels Declaration was the EU's first attempt to develop a comprehensive policy on trafficking that includes prevention, punishment and rehabilitation of the victims. Last week EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers agreed to grant limited-term visas to trafficked people who cooperate with police. Source countries, including Croatia and Hungary, have started countertrafficking campaigns. But success is a relative term. "If a government can say, 'We've raided 150 brothels and pulled out 300 women without passports,' they can show a concrete, measurable response to the problem," notes Lisa Kurbiel, UNICEF's project officer for child trafficking. "But that doesn't address the root causes."

Hungary: Trade in Women Spurs Action by UN

Karl Peter Kirk in Budapest, South China Morning Post, September 7, 2000

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Women are often the victims of this new international mafia. The authorities in the United States estimate that more than one million females are smuggled across borders every year. Many, like the two dancers, are simply forced into prostitution. Others naively believe adverts promising them a life of plenty abroad if they pay to be smuggled across borders.

When they arrive, they find they have been duped and have to "pay" for the trip over and over again - and that the only way to do so is to accept the offer of "work" made by the criminals gangs who took them there. The extent of the networks behind the trafficking in people and drugs is almost unimaginable. In Russia alone, an estimated 9,000 criminal organisations are now in operation compared with about 700 a decade ago. UN estimates show that about 40,000 Russian businesses operate under full or partial mafia control.

The mafia is also keen to make use of the opportunities afforded by the eastward enlargement of the European Union. Lieutenant-Colonel Zsolt Bodnar, of the anti-organised crime division of the Hungarian police, said: "The Russian mafia is already present in Hungary in a big way. They come here and start legitimate businesses and then just wait because they know that Hungary will soon be a member of the EU and then their opportunities for expansion will be immense."

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation - Europe

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation

[accessed 8 February 2011]

TRAFFICKING - In several European Union Member States, prostitution has become increasingly dominated by foreign women. In many areas within the European Union the number of migrant prostitutes is higher than the number of local prostitutes.

The slave trade in women for sexual purposes is growing, and organized crime is more often behind this trade. Smuggling in humans is much less risky than smuggling drugs and it is highly profitable.

Women from Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco), Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic), South East Asia (the Philippines, Thailand), and Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine) are the largest groups of women being trafficked into the European Union.

The Department of Labor’s 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2004

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The Government of Hungary is working with IOM and partner agencies to implement a trafficking prevention program in schools.  Through consultations with NGOs, the government has also provided anti-trafficking sensitization training to police, border guards, and consular officials.  In 2003, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in conjunction with the Government of Hungary, established a shelter for unaccompanied minors in order to prevent them from being recruited by traffickers.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 5 June 1998

[accessed 8 February 2011]

[22] The Committee is concerned about the insufficiency of legal and other measures to address the issue of sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution and trafficking of children.

The Protection Project - Hungary [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Women are trafficked to Hungary primarily for prostitution, but there have also been cases of trafficking pregnant women and in infants for adoption. In 2002, a prominent Hungarian geneticist was found guilty on four counts as an accessory in a trans-Atlantic infant adoption scheme in violation of Hungary’s Family Act. He was charged with recruiting poor, pregnant women from the Hungarian countryside to give up their newborns for adoption in the United States in exchange for a trip there, where they gave birth and were paid cash for their infants. The scheme surfaced after several of the women complained that they were paid much less than promised.  In May 2004, a man from Singapore was being held in Bangkok, Thailand, for allegedly trafficking four Chinese women. He was arrested as he was about to board a Turkish Airlines flight with the four women, who were holding fake Singapore passports. Budapest was believed to be their final destination.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 8 February 2011]


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Hungary is a transit point, source, and destination for trafficked persons, including women trafficked for prostitution. Victim identification efforts and services for victims remain inadequate, and the rate of trafficking investigations and prosecutions has decreased, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report. However, the government has taken some recent steps to address human trafficking; these include amendments to the criminal code that allow the seizure of assets from traffickers, as well as more funding for public awareness campaigns.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Organized crime syndicates transported many of the trafficking victims for forced prostitution either in Budapest, or for transit to Western Europe or North America. Trafficking rings also exploited victims for domestic servitude and manual labor. Russian-speaking organized crime syndicates were active in trafficking women through the country, primarily from Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union to European Union (EU) countries. Victims were recruited at discos and modeling agencies, through word of mouth, or even through open advertisements in local newspapers and magazines. Reportedly, some victims knew that they were going to work illegally; others believed they were getting foreign visas, and others expected to work but believed their employers were obtaining the appropriate papers and permission. Once at their destination, the victims were forced into prostitution or another form of exploitation. Victims were usually housed in apartments owned by the traffickers or outbuildings on their property. Victims' earnings and travel documents were typically taken by the trafficker.

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