In 1993, after years of being considered a criminal act during the communist era, prostitution was decriminalized in Hungary. Although under the current legislation the act of the prostitute is not a crime, pimping, pandering, and the promotion or advertising of prostitution are criminalized.
The relevant provisions of Act IV of 1978 on the Criminal Code (the “Criminal Code”)1 are the following:
Promotion of Prostitution:
(1) Any person who makes available a building or another place for another person to engage in prostitution is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to three years.
(2) Any person who maintains or operates a brothel, or provides financial means for the operation of a brothel is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.
(3) The punishment shall be imprisonment between two to eight years, if:
a) a person under the age of eighteen engages in prostitution in the brothel.
(4) Any person who persuades another person to engage in prostitution shall be punishable in accordance with Subsection (1).
Living on Earnings of Prostitution
Any person who supports himself wholly or in part from the earnings of a person engaging in prostitution is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to three years. Banishment may also be applied as an ancillary punishment.
(1) Any person who solicits a person for sexual intercourse or fornication for another person for any financial gain is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to three years.
(2) The punishment shall be imprisonment between one to five years if pandering is committed in a pattern of criminal business operation.
(3) The punishment shall be imprisonment between two to eight years if pandering is committed:
a) to the injury of a relative of the perpetrator or of a person who is in the care, custody or supervision of or receives medical treatment from, the perpetrator, or a person under the age of eighteen;
b) with deception, violence or direct threat against life or limb.
(4) Any person who conspires to engage in the crime of pandering as defined in Subsection (2) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to three years.
It is to be emphasised that - although prostitution itself is not criminalized - not all forms of prostitution are legal. According to Section 8 of Act LXXV of 1999 on Organized Crime2, the municipalities are entitled to designate special zones (so called tolerance zones) outside of which prostitution is prohibited. Further, according to Section 9, prostitutes must be at least eighteen years old and must possess a health certificate issued by the relevant authority.
Further, in order to comply with general rules of taxation and business, those providing sexual services shall apply for a business licence.
- 1. A Büntető Törvénykönyvről, 1978, IV, http://www.njt.hu/cgi_bin/njt_doc.cgi?docid=3356.237644
- 2. Törvény a szervezett bűnözés, valamint az azzal összefüggő egyes jelenségek elleni fellépés szabályairól és az ehhez kapcsolódó törvénymódosításokról, 1999, LXXV, http://www.njt.hu/cgi_bin/njt_doc.cgi?docid=41051.222062