The implementation of the Action Plan of the National Strategy against Trafficking in Human Beings for 2020–2023 was at the core of the discussion.

In view of the pandemic situation, the consultation forum of domestic ministries and other state bodies involved in the fight against human trafficking took place online again on 25 February. In the first half of the discussion Mátyás Hegyaljai, Deputy State Secretary, national anti-trafficking coordinator outlined the most important developments of the past few months, such as the submission of the TIP report to the US Embassy in Budapest, the preparation of the EU anti-trafficking strategy and the ongoing training activities of the Ministry of Interior. The second item on the agenda was the presentation of a research on victims of labour exploitation financed by the Ministry of the Interior. The domestic and international literature, as well as the foreign best practices had already been processed in the shape of a mid-term report, and the in-depth interviews with helping  professionals and victims (survivors) have also begun. The chief researcher noted that in the case of the latter the entry restrictions in the social care institutions have been a slight impediment so far. 

After that, the beneficiaries of the trafficking-related EU projects took the floor. In the framework of the project entitled “Complex assistance to victims of human trafficking” the Ministry of Justice and the Hungarian Baptist Aid provide some new forms of victim support services, e.g. rescue and safe transport, complementary services (family care, good money management, etc.), low-threshold assistance, aftercare. Thanks to the project, reintegration support of HUF 500,000 is available to each victim. The project of the International Organization for Migration entitled “Don’t let it happen, don’t make it happen!” is also implemented from the Internal Security Fund with domestic co-financing. Project activities include a research on the psychological drivers of human trafficking, awareness-raising lessons in schools and an upcoming media campaign on the phenomenon of human trafficking. 

The action plan of the nation strategy to be implemented in the period 2020-2021 was high on the agenda of the meeting. The detailed action plan laid down in Government Resolution No. 1046/2020. envisaged a total of 56 interventions, six of which have already been completed. These include the transition to a so-called opt-out system of reaching the victims, which means that the victim support service automatically receives the data of the victims and, in possession of this, can directly offer them the support and assistance services provided by the state. The increase in the number of staff at the anti-trafficking unit of the National Bureau of Investigation and the incorporation of knowledge related to human trafficking into the curriculum and examination of the Hungarian consuls have also been implemented. Progress includes two important legislative changes as well: according to a new provision in the Criminal Code, applicable from 1 July 2020, consciously using the service provided by victims of exploitation became punishable, and as of 1 January 2021, the possibility of a child-friendly hearing in line with the Barnahus model was added to the Act on Criminal Proceedings.  

The Ministry of the Interior continues to foster the proper implementation of the action plan as a responsible body for several measures and also as supporting-coordinating body in general.