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Issues

Girls for sale: Romanian legislation miles away from eliminating human trafficking

The Government of Romania does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report for Romania released by the U.S. Embassy reads. If you don’t believe the report, here is the story of a Szatmárnémeti/Satu Mare–based man convicted for the fifth time for human trafficking.

Forty-two-year-old Attila Hanyecz was arrested by police while selling a girl in the parking lot of a supermarket in Szatmárnémeti. The price for this girl was EUR 400. He had found his client through social media by sending direct messages to potential clients.

The 23-year-old girl ended up with Hanyecz after she had run away from home, where she was living in deep poverty along with numerous family members. As this happened during the curfew, Hanyecz couldn’t earn money as a pimp, so he quickly decided to sell the girl by sending direct messages on Facebook to potential clients using his girlfriend’s account and describing her as “high-quality merchandise,” reports Romanian news outlet Libertatea.

He wasn’t arrested until October 1, 2020, after one of the “potential clients” informed the police about his actions. He was sentenced to five years in jail for human trafficking.

But this is just one of the problems: This wasn’t Hanyecz’s first conviction. He has been sentenced to jail several times for human trafficking, but, as you can see, the Romanian judicial system is weak enough to leave room for criminals selling both minor and mature girls to local and international buyers. It’s time for the government to wake up and proceed with the promised reforms of the judicial system.

Title image: The seller from Szatmánérmeti / Satu Mare. Image source: Libertatea.ro

Author: István Fekete