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Hungarian Sex Workers Subjected to Tax Audit, Take Legal Action against APEH

Prostitutes working in the southern Hungarian city of Pécs and its surroundings have recently been subjected to tax audits by the Hungarian Tax Authority (APEH). Sex workers were first monitored by the police; data collected about their activities were handed to the APEH, which then started audit. One sex worker sued the APEH.

The police had monitored sex workers in the city of Pecs and its surroundings collected data about them and their activities. The data were then handed over to APEH. During the audit that followed, the prostitutes were told by the APEH officers that they would be fined not only for not paying appropriate taxes, but also for not registering their activity as tax payers with the tax authority.

The Association of Hungarian Prostitutes reminds that such data collection on citizens is against the law. In addition to that, any registration of prostitutes, keeping any register about them and/or binding them to be recorded is not allowed by the law. These are primarily forbidden by the Art. No. 6 of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, adopted by the UN General Assembly on March 21, 1950, and signed by the Hungarian government.

One of the prostitutes subjected to monitoring, data collection and tax audit, took legal action against the APEH. She is legally assisted by the Association of Hungarian Prostitutes. The Association has also requested from the Hungarian Data Protection Commissioner to give his opinion on the case.

The legal suit shows that the issue of prostitution is still controversial in Hungary. Although the UN Convention prohibits any registration of prostitutes by authorities, the Hungarian Tax Authority demands the tax number registration from prostitutes.

Contact person: Márta Gergovics
E-mail: gergovics.marta@freemail.hu  
About Hungarian Prostitutes’ Interest Protection Association
Website: www.prostitualtak.hu