National report on the demand side of trafficking and forced prostitution in Hungary

In 2006 ICCR conducted research commissioned by IOM studying the demand side of trafficking and forced prostitution with both quantitative and qualitative methods. Studying the demand side of prostitution and trafficking means a paradigm shift moving the focus of attention from victims of trafficking to the users of sexual services.

The first part of the research focused on presenting and comparing the domestic and international regulation of prostitution and trafficking in persons. The study examined the practical pros and cons of the three main approaches to the regulation of prostitution (abolition, prohibition, regulation) based on case studies on countries that implement those practices.

The research included a qualitative survey of the general knowledge of the Hungarian male population on prostitution and trafficking in persons. The questionnaire contained questions on access to prostitution, attitudes towards it, perception of the freedom of sex workers and the criminalization of buyers and sellers of sexual services. The answers are analysed throughout the groups created on the basis of age, region and education. The questions aimed at information on trafficking in persons concerned the main characteristics of trafficking in persons and the connection between trafficking in persons and prostitution and other forms of exploitation.

The other element of the research aimed to describe the structure of the Hungarian sex sector and the anatomy of the demand side through the examination of previous research in this field and qualitative interviews with ten consumers of sexual services, four sex workers, an owner of a night club and eight experts of prostitution and related topics.

To present the structure of the Hungarian sex sector the qualitative research first examined the possibility of mobility and overlaps between the different types of sex workers working in different settings and their dependencies, exploitation, access to healthcare and other services and their connection to trafficking in persons. The aim of studying the demand side of prostitution was to understand the social and cultural context of purchasing sex and the individual and social psychological motivations of the clients. The study examined the socio-demographic background of the clients, their knowledge of prostitution-specific legislation and institutions and also how they assess the socio-demographic background and situation of sex workers. The interviewees’ knowledge on trafficking in persons in general and the connection between prostitution and trafficking in persons was also examined. The final section of the qualitative study aimed at collecting clients’ recommendations on methods to campaign against trafficking in persons.