Over 10% of Hungary’s inmates are people smugglers

Bence Rétvári, state secretary of the Ministry of the Interior. (MTI/Zoltán Máthé)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

More than one in 10 of the inmates in Hungarian prisons are convicted people smugglers, according to Bence Rétvári, the state secretary at the country’s interior ministry.

“Of the approximately 19,000 detainees, more than 2,000 are people smugglers,” Rétvári said on Monday, adding that this showed how large a part people smuggling plays in domestic crime.

The overwhelming majority of those imprisoned for such crimes, 88 percent, are not Hungarian citizens, Rétvári revealed, which he claimed means “a lot of difficulties” and additional tasks regarding detention.

“In Hungary, there are people smugglers in prisons to an unprecedented extent,” he said, adding that illegal migration “represents a huge burden” for the countries that are situated on the EU’s external border and are on the route between poorer third countries and attractive destinations such as Germany and the United Kingdom.

Rétvári stated that the number of illegal immigrants is increasing: Last year, more than two and a half times as many people tried to cross Hungary’s southern border than the year before. By July of this year, more people had tried to cross the border illegally than in all of last year.

More than 900 people smugglers have been caught this year, and they are becoming more and more aggressive, Rétvári said. He recalled that there had already been a shooting in Szabadka when a gang war broke out between human trafficking groups that left one dead and several injured.

Rétvári also spoke about the fact that people smugglers are “part of organized crime,” explaining that they even trick people in the sending countries and try to lure them to Europe, but “the leaders in Brussels give them a lot of help because they are constantly talking about making a migration route safer (…) and they talk about the distribution of illegal migrants according to quotas.”

It would be important for Europe’s leaders to come to their senses and try to stop and not organize illegal migration, the state secretary concluded.

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