Survey: Hungarians see human trafficking bigger problem than Covid

A survey by the UN's IOM found that 20% of Hungarians have knowledge of a case of human trafficking in their immediate surroundings.

A survey has found that Hungarians see human trafficking as a bigger problem than the coronavirus pandemic, and they anticipate that the number of people exploited by traffickers would grow in the coming years.

According to a recent survey by the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM), conducted in the summer of 2022 by IOM Hungary, the Trauma Centre and the National Police Headquarters, 20% of Hungarians have knowledge of a case of human trafficking in their immediate surroundings. Among young people with only elementary education, the group most vulnerable to trafficking, that number was 28%, IOM said. The most vulnerable group listed sexual exploitation as the third largest problem after economic issues and cost-of-living problems. Work exploitation was fifth on their list. Among the whole population, human trafficking was considered a more pressing problem than the war in Ukraine, the Covid pandemic, migration, housing and education, IOM said. Fully 48% of respondents said they expected the number of victims to grow in the coming years.

The survey also probed people’s knowledge of the types of exploitation and forms of recruiting. Most respondents mentioned the trafficking of children, sexual exploitation and organ trade. The smuggling of illegal migrants across borders, which IOM considers people smuggling and not human trafficking, was the fourth most often mentioned. IOM said only 34% of respondents were familiar with the concept of domestic slavery, where the victim is forced to work without pay around the house. Work exploitation, the most frequent form of exploitation in Hungary, was seen as relatively rare. The survey, conducted in the framework of an anti-trafficking campaign, showed similar results to its 2018 counterpart. In 2022, 39% of respondents said the problem did not appear in the media often enough.