Joint European action against labour exploitation

Publicated on: July 15, 2022

In the operation coordinated by EUROPOL the Hungarian authorities checked 5,287 persons in 874 locations, paying particular attention to the situation of Ukrainian citizens.

25 EU countries and 4 other European countries participated in the EMPACT Joint Action Days (JAD) between 15-21 June 2022. In Hungary, the operation was led by the National Bureau of Investigation, while the county police headquarters also played an active role by preparing own action plan in their areas of jurisdiction and organizing the participation of partner organizations, namely the labour and immigration authority and NGOs. 

The on-site inspections covered businesses, hotels, service sector premises such as massage parlours, as well as construction sites, farms and agricultural land. The labour departments of the county government offices imposed fines totalling more than HUF 18 million on the employers, mostly for failure to declare employment. Police interrogated 19 suspects and commenced three new criminal proceedings on the suspicion of trafficking in human beings and forced labour. In relation to these, eight victims of trafficking were identified, five of whom were involved in sexual exploitation and three of whom suffered labour exploitation. In addition, seven other persons were identified by the authorities as potential victims of human trafficking.

The JAD was also effective at European level: 487 victims have been identified, and in relation to these cases, the authorities initiated 80 investigations.

Europol has already taken the initiative to bring together national law enforcement agencies to protect Ukrainian refugees. In the spring, liaison officers were deployed in several countries, including Hungary, and in May 2022, an action called Hackathon was also organized to identify advertisements and criminal conduct on the internet and DarkWeb aimed at exploiting Ukrainian citizens. 

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