Human trafficking rampant through gates cut into the “impenetrable” fence at the Serbian border, the police cannot contain it

A gate cut in the fence, wrecked cars on the roadside, rubbish covering forests, brazen and aggressive human traffickers – this is how you can describe what is happening at the Hungarian-Serbian border fence. The migrants arrive just as the police are taking turns. The migration tension has moved away from the border fence to Ruzsa, a village in Csongrád County in Hungary. A public forum was held there, but neither the press nor the residents of the surrounding villages were allowed to enter. 

Illegal migrants moving in groups, increasingly violent human traffickers – that’s what the people of Asotthalom, village in southern Hungary, near the border with Serbia complained to Atlatszo. We spent several days filming in the area, talked to Mayor Renáta Papp, and got a chance to sit in the car of field guard Sándor Nagy. We met a human trafficker and watched the border overnight.

Hungarian PM Orbán Viktor repeatedly stated that the border fence can withstand the most powerful waves of illegal migration. But that’s not the case right now: human traffickers cut gates in the fence in no time, and from there, the way is clear.

Despite the heavily fortified razor-wire fence, daily detentions and pushbacks, police patrols and the fierce anti-migrant rhetoric of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the Hungarian route remains appealing for many illegal migrants. Increased illegal migration along the Balkan route to Central Europe has recently become a hot topic, especially after three people were killed the armed clashes between people-smugglers at the Serbian-Hungarian border at the end of October 2023.

“Those who live near the barrier constantly hear th shots on  the other side of the border, too. We also know that they found weapons on both sides of the border, in bags and in migrant hubs. So these things have increased the residents’ fears considerably. The smuggling rings that help these larger numbers of migrants who come in groups of 50 to 100
have also become increasingly well-organized and systematic” – stated Renáta Papp, mayor of Ásotthalom, adding that “humanity presist” in the residents to migrants in need.

But the people in the area are still worried. Human traffickers are picking up migrants near Ruzsa, a village in Csongrád County in Hungary. Our video report about the situation is available with English subtitle:


Police officers also spoke to us how they see what is happening and why. They complained that they were understaffed and that their colleagues on the Serbian side were doing nothing to stop the illegal migration. One officer said about the human traffickers: “They’ve organized themselves since 2015, so they have a well-oiled system going. We gave them the time the orchestrate the whole thing.”

Translated by Zita Szopkó, English subtitles by Vanda Mayer. The original, Hungarian version of this story was written by Csaba Segesvári, and can be found here. Video by Bence Bodoky. Cover photo: Atlatszo.