Roundtable on child prostitution

Publicated on: October 12, 2021

The event hosted by the National Institute of Criminology on 8 October 2021 was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the National Police Headquarters, the Prosecution Service, the Budapest-Capital Regional Court as well as child protection professionals.

The research institute has recently conducted a comprehensive analysis on the criminological and sociological characteristics of child prostitution, in which all files of the chief (county level) prosecution offices from the past seven years were examined. The typical personal circumstances of victims revealed in the total of 89 criminal cases processed: the majority of them are raised in state care, or in unstable, dysfunctional families resulting in similar disadvantages. The common difficulties of production of evidence have also emerged: victims seldom maintain their confession in the long-lasting criminal procedures, and tend to absent themselves from procedural acts. 

As regards the scenes of victimization, minors living in child protection are typically affected by street prostitution. The trafficking in human beings senior supervisor officer of the Hungarian Police observed that on the basis of recent experience the advertisement of prostitution has shifted to online and the actual sexual services are rather provided in private homes, making it more difficult for the authorities to detect. This process is most probably shaped by pandemic and the cautiousness of the pimps due to the increased penalty rates in the Criminal Code. 

The head of the central special children's home in Rákospalota added that the exploitation of minors in prostitution is typically carried out domestically, but the "loverboy" perpetrators are trying to lure their victims abroad right after reaching the age of majority. 

The establishment of the therapeutic and hearing centers using the child-friendly protocol of the Barnahus model is considered a great leap forward in the care of sexually abused and/or exploited children. In this context, a participating child protection expert announced that the postgraduate training of special consultants in charge of the child-friendly hearings will start at the National University of Public Service in September 2022.

Finally, the issues of minors’ consent to prostitution were raised. Under international and EU law apparent volunteering is inadmissible in case of children even in the absence of coercion or threat.  In domestic criminal proceedings however, this approach has not fully taken root yet. Representatives of the judicial organization would thus urge to explicitly declare the invalidity of such a consent in national law or in a guideline issued by the Supreme Court.


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