Most of the Hungarian sex workers do not know that prostitution has been legal in Hungary since 1999. However, the legal framework is bad and increases only the vulnerability of sex workers. Furthermore, many of them become a victim of human trafficking, mostly those who are very poor or consume drugs.
The Hungarian Sex Workers’ Advocacy Association (SZEXE) together with the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) measured the state of the Hungarian prostitutes in the framework of the Rights not rescue international project – index.hu reported. 202 sex workers filled Their questionnaire but that is not a representative sample since, for example, most of them live in Budapest.
The altogether number of Hungarian sex workers is around 8-10 thousand working abroad or in the country.
The average age of those who took part in the survey of the two organisations was 36,
the youngest was 18 while the oldest 64.
90 pc of them are women, 95 pc works in flats or hotels, and only five pc said that they work on the streets.
One of the most important lessons of the survey is that most of the Hungarian sex workers do not know that prostitution is legal in Hungary. 1/3 said that it is illegal and 14 pc could not answer the question which is surprising since those who have a valid medical certificate and are over 18 can work as a prostitute legally since 1999.
Based on the law, in Hungary, there are “protected” zones like the 300m neighbourhood of the churches, schools or cemeteries where prostitutes cannot work. Furthermore, local governments can also create such zones. Despite the law,
there are not enough tolerance zones.
Moreover, the sex workers cannot hire a security guard or a driver and cannot rent a flat because, in that case, the lessor would carry out the crime of running prostitutes.
According to those asked, this is the most significant problem that they cannot rent a flat where they can work. Some suggested that the state should regulate the tariffs and the hiring of the prostitutes. Human trafficking should be punished harsher, and inspections should also be stricter – according to those sex workers who filled out the survey. They said that mostly those are
exposed to the danger of becoming a victim of human trafficking who are very poor, are consuming drugs and who were raised by the state.
More than 50 pc of them suffered some kind of physical abuse, and 15 pc of them said that they already became a victim of human trafficking at least once while 10 pc of them said that more than once.
Most of the prostitutes hide what they do from their family, and that is a significant factor in becoming utilised by others because they do not have anybody to turn to. They added that they are afraid to report any injustices to the police and even if they decide to do so police officers talk them out. Furthermore, even judges refer to them as whores in the courtrooms.