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CoE calls on Hungary to improve assistance to human trafficking victims

Although Hungary has made progress in the implementation of the CoE's Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the country's authorities should make further efforts to improve assistance to victims of human trafficking, the Council of Europe's GRETA group of experts said in a report released on Monday.

Authors of the report noted that the number of identified human trafficking victims in Hungary was 754 during the period of 2019-2022 which marks a significant increase compared to the previous period covered by GRETA. According to the report, most identified victims were women and minors with sexual exploitation remaining the main form of exploitation.

The report welcomed the adoption of a new national anti-trafficking strategy, as well as guidelines issued by the chief prosecutor’s office to facilitate the detection and prosecution of human trafficking cases. It also welcomed law amendments ensuring human trafficking victims free legal aid in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings. The report however noted that in practice victims have limited access to free legal aid and called on Hungarian authorities to remedy the situation.

In its report, GRETA expressed concern that only a few trafficking victims have received compensation from the perpetrators or the state and urges authorities “to systematically inform victims of their right to claim compensation, to make full use of the existing legislation on the seizure and confiscation of criminal assets”.

The report welcomed the law amendment which precludes punishment of minors for providing sexual services, it however urged the Hungarian authorities to adopt a specific legal provision and guidance on the non-punishment of victims of trafficking.

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