U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Poland
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Poland, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d85e32.html [accessed 10 March 2014]|
Poland (Tier 1)
Poland is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked to Western Europe, Israel, and Japan primarily for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Some internal trafficking also occurs. Persons trafficked to and through Poland originate from eastern and southeastern countries, primarily Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, and Moldova. Ukraine continued to serve as the largest source of persons trafficked through Poland, while fewer Russian victims transited Poland. During 2004, there was a small but growing percentage of victims in Poland forced to work in agricultural settings, sweatshops, or begging.
The Government of Poland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Poland continued to show progress, particularly in the area of prevention. The government should adopt pending legislation to provide for greater victim protection in order to avoid deporting potential trafficking victims who risk being re-trafficked and to impose greater sentences on traffickers.
While trafficking investigations and prosecutions decreased in 2004, conviction statistics remained similar to the previous reporting period. The decrease is likely the result of a shift in focus from pursuing prostitution-related charges to more complex trafficking prosecutions that may result in longer sentences. The Polish Criminal Code prohibits trafficking for the purposes of both sexual and non-sexual exploitation with sufficiently severe penalties. In 2004, the courts prosecuted 18 of 39 traffickers arrested. The most recent conviction statistics, from 2003, indicate that the government convicted 147 traffickers under forced prostitution charges and five traffickers under human slavery charges. Of the 152 convicted, only 36 received a non-suspended prison sentence. Approximately 100 officers received special training in 2004 in trafficking identification and victim assistance. Additionally, all incoming police receive basic trafficking awareness instruction. The police participated in bilateral Czech, German, and Swedish police task forces that sought to share information, track the movement of traffickers and victims across borders, and coordinate repatriations and casework. While there were no reported cases of law enforcement officials punished for trafficking-related corruption, unconfirmed reports noted that some local police took bribes to ignore known trafficking activity.
Poland's legal framework to protect victims of trafficking remained unchanged during the reporting period. Eight foreign victims stayed in Poland in 2004 to assist in the investigations of their traffickers; two of these individuals received police protection. Trafficking victims, when identified, were typically referred to the nearest assistance point within Poland. Due in part to a lack of formal screening procedures, enforcement authorities continued to deport some potential victims. NGO and government sources reported that increased training has improved law enforcement responses. The government allocated a small amount of funding to an NGO providing victim assistance. Local governments also partially funded shelters and NGOs fighting trafficking. Consular officials in Polish embassies abroad received regular training on helping Polish nationals who were trafficked abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs helped repatriate 100 to 150 Polish victims in 2004.
The Polish Government in 2004 launched new programs aimed at preventing trafficking in persons. The Ministry of Education in early 2004 trained 40 teachers to teach human rights including trafficking. It altered the national fourth, fifth, and sixth grade curricula to incorporate instruction on protection against trafficking, and the national high school curriculum to include sections on the dangers of trafficking and prostitution. The Polish police distributed 8,000 leaflets on trafficking and prostitution in locales frequented by individuals in prostitution and those who buy sex. Eleven Polish Government agencies were actively involved in coordinating Poland's anti-trafficking policies and programs. The interagency anti-trafficking working group approved a draft 2005 National Action Plan for Combating Trafficking to update the 2003 National Action Plan; the new plan awaits ministerial approval.