Country information: Hungary (Magyarország) is a landlocked country in Central Europe situated in the Carpathian Basin.
Human Rights 2015: an overview by Amnesty International.
HIV/AIDS rates: A cumulative total of 2 115 HIV cases, 656 AIDS cases by the end of 2011 according to WHO.
HIV prevalence among sex workers: 0%.
Legal situation around sex work: Sex work is legal.
Sex work in Hungary has been legal and has been regulated since 1999 under Act LXXV. Sex work is allowed as long as sex workers comply with the criteria set forth within the law. However, these criteria are often vague, overly broad and arbitrarily enforced by police representatives and judges.
The criterea are as follows:
- street sex is permitted in so-called „tolerance zones”:
- these zones need to be identified in each municipality, but in practice the authorities are reluctant ot identify such zones;
- soliciting, offering and advertising sexual services in protected zones are also prohibited, which may lead to fines and when unpaid this may lead toa detention.
- sex workers must possess entrepreneurial permits;
- sex workers mustregularly pay taxes;
- sex workers must attend obligatory health checks every three months to get a health certificate.
Any person who violates these restrictions on sexual services commits an administrative offense and shall be punished by confinement or fine. The law determines that for an unpaid 5.000 HUF fine (approximately 15 EUR) the sentence of one day imprisonment can be received.
Since 2012 a new law on misdemeanors affects sex workers. Since then, police officers are allowed to fine sex workers on the spot for being non-compliant with the often vague regulations surrounding sex work (i.e. for offering their sevices in ill-defined or undefined protected zones).
Sex workers are frequently charged with offences they did not commit, such as littering or violating pedestrian or traffic regulations.
The Criminal Code punishes the following:
- renting a buiding / place for another person to engage in prostitution;
- maintaining or operating a brothel, or providing financial means for the operation of a brothel;
- engagement of the underaged;
- living on earnings from prostitution;
Buying sexual services is not prohibited.
Services for sex workers: Legal, health, social services.
Sex workers’ movement: SZEXE unites sex worker activists.
SWAN members marked the International Sex Workers’ Rights Day on 3rd of March and the International Women's’ Day on 8 of March.
Члены СВАН отметили 1 декабря, всемирный день борьбы со СПИДом, проведением различных мероприятий.
On 1st of December, The World AIDS Day, SWAN members celebrated with multiple activities.
Between 10 th -12 th November, 2016, in Budapest, Hungary, SWAN in collaboration with IWRAW Asia Pacific hosted a Regional Meeting to discuss follow-ups on Concluding Observations given by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) to 10 countries in the CEECA region - Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
Watch the video to find out how the police is treating sex workers in Hungary, and the important work SZEXE does to protect the rights of sex workers.
On December 17 SWAN members held different local actions to raise the awareness and commemorate International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
On December 1, 2015 a number of SWAN members joined the commemoration of the World AIDS Day.
The video snapshot of the 15th anniversary of Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE) that took place on September 17, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
On September 17 The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE) celebrated its 15th anniversary. Balloons, red umbrellas, birthday cakes and positive atmosphere of the celebration were combined with discussion of the situation of sex workers in Hungary and work SZEXE does for sex workers rights.
On the 17th of September, 2015 Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE) is celebrating its 15th anniversary! Congratulations!
Association of Hungarian Sex Workers SZEXE participated in the Norwegian Pattern Festival "Face to Face NGOs" that took place on June 26-27 in Budapest.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day has been held annually every third Sunday in May since 1983. On May 17, 2015 around 1200 organizations in 115 countries gathered to commemorate those who died from AIDS and to raise awareness about HIV. The official theme of the campaign worldwide was ‘Supporting the future’ dedicated to calling on the communities around the world to unite and demand a sustainable response to AIDS.
The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE): Controversial regulation, police brutality, hatred of society and forced isolation bring sex workers into difficult situations. Instead of persecuting them, their exploiters should be traced. An answer to the media reaction to the recent murder of a 19 year old Hungarian sex worker.
July 1, Budapest - SZEXE, a Hungarian organization that stands to unite and protect interests of sex workers in Hungary, hosted conference “Nothing about Us without Us!”. The aim of the conference was provide safe space for Hungarian sex workers to tell their view and opinion on current situation with sex work in Hungary and the recent move of European Parliament to criminalize clients of sex workers. Besides journalists, politicians, civil society organizations and academia, among the invited were supporters of a campaign Europe without Prostitution and anti-trafficking organizations.
Our sex worker colleague's, Bella's message to fellow sex workers in the world. She has been an amazingly active sex worker activist for years.
We have recently published an article, detailing participation of SZEXE, Hungarian Association of sex workers, in CEDAW hearings. Even though the fact and the conclusions reached by the Committee did not become the center of attention back home, some of the Hungarian media decided to engage into conversation. Below is an article from the communist newspaper Nepszava reporting on SZEXE and CEDAW shadow report.
The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers recently represented Hungarian sex workers at the 54th Session of CEDAW, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Geneva, in February 2013. By using the submission of a shadow report and active advocacy at the session , the Association achieved a landmark success in its history: the Committee recommended that the Hungarian government ‘adopt measures aimed at preventing discrimination against sex workers and ensure that legislation on their rights to safe working conditions is guaranteed at national and local levels’.
Application deadline: February 28, 2013.
Where: Summer School of Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary
When: 15-19 June, 2013
Human rights litigation is one of the methods by which civil society organizations can bring about social change. This course for human rights professionals will develop the skills and knowledge needed to successfully bring cases to the regional human rights systems and the UN Treaty bodies, and to use those cases to achieve practical change. Participants will be invited to provide information on concrete cases that they are involved in which will be discussed during the course.
December 17, 2012. Budapest - SZEXE, the Association for the Rights of Sex workers has held a discussion and a screening of a film about sex workers in Hungary. "Where is the Truth?" features sex workers and their allies who describe the working conditions and safety issues of sex workers and how they affect their lives.
With the support and technical expertise of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the SZEXE team hopes to demystify the air around sex work and to bring more attention to what human rights violations sex workers face in their everyday life.
The 40-min film will soon be available in English and Russian.
Visit SZEXE website here: http://szexmunka.hu/
Follow and like on Facebook here.
By Anna-Louisa Crago
What is the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (GCHL)?
It is a commission put in place by the UN to study the impact of different laws on HIV-prevention, treatment and care. It also studies the impact of laws on discrimination and violence against people living with HIV or at high-risk of HIV.
The commissioners are a group of highly respected individuals and experts from around the world and include former heads of state, judges and policy experts. They are advised by a committee of technical experts with extensive knowledge about HIV and the law.
The commission is particular because it is independent of the UN. That means that the commissioners can come to their own conclusions, even if coutries within the UN or UN workers disagree with these.
What does the GCHL have to do with SWAN?
Individuals and groups from the CEE/CA, as well as other regions,were invited to submit testimony about the impact of different laws and HIV. SWAN submitted a submission that tried to include experiences from all across the region. Many other SWAN groups individually submitted such as HOPS (Macedonia), Lega-Life (Ukraine) and HESED (Bulgaria).