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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

Republic of Poland

Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies.

Unemployment is falling rapidly, though at roughly 9.7% in 2008, it remains above the EU average. In 2008 inflation reached 4.3%, more than the upper limit of the National Bank of Poland's target range, but has been falling due to global economic slowdown.

An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Poland

Poland is a source country for men and women trafficked to Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Israel for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. It is also a transit and destination country for women trafficked from Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, Russia, Sudan, Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, China, and Vietnam for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women from Ukraine, Bulgaria, Mongolia, and Vietnam are trafficked to Poland for purposes of forced labor, forced begging, and debt bondage.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June,  2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Poland.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

La Strada
22 628 9999
Country code: 48-



Human Trafficking Ring Raided in Italy

Associated Press AP, Rome, 19 July 2006,4675,ItalyHumanTrafficking,00.html

[accessed 2 September 2014]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

"Gangsters working in Poland recruited people looking for seasonal jobs picking fruit and vegetables in Italy through announcements in local newspapers," Bienkowski told a news conference.  He said workers had to pay travel costs and a one-time work-finders fee of up to $280. But once in Italy, their situation quickly deteriorated. The workers were promised $6.30-$7.50 per hour before leaving, but received only $1.25 an hour after arriving, Bienkowski said.  They were quartered in barracks with horrible sanitary conditions and had to pay for food and board, which pushed most of them into debt.

Tales of sex and sadness from inside Britain's oldest profession

Amelia Hill, The Observer, 23 December 2007

[accessed 19 December 2010]

'I'D BEEN DREAMING OF A FUTURE AS A WIFE AND A MOTHER' - ALMA, 26 - Alma (not her real name) fell in love with a man she met in Poland seven months ago. He said he wanted to introduce her to his family. Under this pretence, he ended up kidnapping her. He used a false passport to bring her to Manchester and force her to work in a brothel.

'I had been working as a waitress, dreaming of a future as a wife and mother,' Alma says. 'This man shared my Muslim religion. I trusted him. When he locked me in his house, took away all my money and possessions, I was terrified. But when he forced me into a car and had a friend drive me to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language or know anyone, I was beside myself . My family went to the police but after a week I knew they wouldn't take me back because, according to our religion, I was ruined.

'He beat me and made me live with another girl who spied on me. She wouldn't leave me for a second and reported to this man if I did anything that looked like trying to escape. He forced me to work in the brothel, but the clients complained because I just cried all the time. The manager asked me what was wrong. I didn't have the language to express myself, but eventually I managed to explain. I don't think she felt sorry for me, but she saw that I wasn't going to earn her brothel any money because I would never willingly work. She helped me to escape and I went to the police. This has damaged my life in all directions. I have no dreams now and no hopes. I have nothing.'


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Poland

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 21 June 2021]


There were reports that foreign and Polish men and women were subjected to forced labor in construction, agriculture, and restaurants and that children were subjected to forced begging (see section 7.c.).


Some children younger than 18 engaged in hazardous work in agriculture, primarily on family farms. Migrant Romani children from Romania were subjected to forced begging.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 5 May 2020]


The law provides meaningful protections against abusive working conditions and child labor, especially in the formal sector. The authorities work to combat human trafficking, but women and children are still subjected to trafficking for sexual exploitation and foreign migrant workers are vulnerable to conditions amounting to forced labor.

Human trafficking gang sentenced to six years

NDS UK, 7thSpace Interactive, 2010-10-11

[accessed 19 December 2010]

[accessed 22 February 2019]

The UK arm of the gang, based in the Burngreave area of Sheffield, had sought to lure genuine Polish workers to the UK on the promise of paid work and a better life. In reality the workers would find themselves being forced to work up to 12 hours a day and then housed in a derelict property at night, unable to leave.

The scam worked by recruiting the workers via newspapers and the internet in Poland, and then asking them to pay money up front for accommodation and the necessary documentation they´d need to work in the UK - on average between £300-£500 each. On arrival they´d be picked up from the airport and then taken to the Halcar Tavern, Carwood Grove in Sheffield, where they had to share cramped and squalid conditions. The gang would then arrange for them to be taken to and from work but wouldn´t pay them at the end of the week. After a couple of weeks of unpaid work, the gang would then turn up with baseball bats and forcefully evict the victims under the threat of physical assault..

Human trafficking in Poland on the rise

Agence France-Presse AFP, Geneva, May 29 2009

[accessed 19 December 2010]

Human trafficking in Poland has worsened since the country joined the European Union and Europe's borderless Schengen zone, a UN independent expert said Friday.

Trafficking for labour and prostitution is already endemic in Poland, said Ezeilo, adding that data from the police indicates that cases of human trafficking are "growing by the day."   Despite the growth, inspectors did not have the "necessary capacity" to deal with the issue.

Combating Trafficking for Forced Labor Purposes in the OSCE Region

Mark P. Lagon, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Hearing Before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Washington, DC, October 11, 2007


[accessed 10 September 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

Last year, press reports indicated that in Poland, announcements in local newspapers lured workers to Italy for seasonal jobs picking fruit and vegetables. They were promised an hourly wage of up to $7.50, only after paying a finder’s fee and travel costs. Once in Italy the reality was much different. Nearly 100 Polish workers were forced to live in barracks with no sanitation or running water, fed only bread and water and were paid just $1.25 an hour. With these meager wages, they were unable to pay the room and board and were pushed into debt. Attempts to resist were met with severe beatings and torture.

Suspected human trafficking gang leader nabbed in Poland

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) DPA, Warsaw, November 15, 2006

[accessed 19 December 2010]


[accessed 11 February 2018]

In July, a joint operation saw Italian and Polish police free more than a hundred Polish citizens that were being held in Nazi-style labour camps in Italy's Apulia region, close to the cities of Bari and Foggi.  Polish prosecutors investigating the Italian slave labour camps using Polish nationals began questioning victims in the case in mid- October.  Polish justice officials believe that up to 1,000 Poles may have been used as slaves in Nazi-style agricultural labour camps in the Apulia region that forms the heel of Italy's boot.

UK anti-human trafficking campaign

Bogdan Zaryn, Polskie Radio, 26 April 2006

[accessed 19 December 2010]

The United Kingdom has launched an awareness campaign on the trafficking of women from Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. The problem in Eastern Europe is reaching alarming proportions, as more and more naïve females leave their homeland in the hope of making a successful living for themselves in the West. Unfortunately many are roped into a life of crime and prostitution.

British authorities argue that Poland’s accession to the EU has made it that much easier for traffickers to recruit their victims.”

It’s estimated that roughly 10,000 Polish women have been the victims of domestic and international human trafficking mills. Jolanta Plakwicz from the Polish Feminist Union thinks that the figure is much higher.

Flesh Peddling

The Warsaw Voice, May 26, 2004

[accessed 19 December 2010]

Human trafficking and slavery are not a thing of the past; they are a frightening reality of today.  The number of detected cases of trafficking in women and children forced into prostitution is growing. Over the past nine years various organizations and police in Poland have been approached by 1,511 women; in 2003 alone, there were 261 reports

WHOM THEY SEEK - Ideal victims for recruiters are women who cannot speak foreign languages, have never been abroad and have no knowledge of the law, so that when they are expelled from Poland, they will be helpless.  Procurers know well where to look for such women. They choose first and foremost those who are greatly affected by a lack of money and those who have looked for a job for a long time. The best candidates come from broken homes or have poor contact with their parents. That provides a kind of a protection for the pimp: when problems arise, the woman has no one to turn to. The candidates do not have to be young and beautiful. Procurers recruit both 16-year-olds and women over 45.

ENAWA Annual Report on Violence Against Women in 10 Countries

Sources: World Organisation Against Torture OMCT & AVIVA, July 31 2003

[accessed 28 June 2013]

In Poland, it is estimated that as many as 10,000 women and girls are trafficked out to foreign countries every year and 60% of the prostitutes in Poland are suspected of being trafficking victims.

Unaccompanied children in Poland - new program by Nobody's Children Foundation and Polish Office of Repatriation and Aliens

Child Centre for Children at Risk in the Baltic Sea Region, 21.04.2004

[accessed 19 December 2010]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

New Polish law on providing protection for refugees staying in the territory of Poland that came into force in November 2003 includes an innovative regulations on   procedure of admitting a refugee status to unaccompanied minors. The act obliges the state authority among others to:

* creating a special “friendly” conditions of minors    interviewing 

* guarantying the presence of psychologist during a minors interview

* preparing by psychologist an opinion about the interviewed    minor’s psycho-health condition

Research based on case studies of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States, i.e. Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands [PDF]

Commission of the European Communities, DG Justice & Home Affairs, , Hippokrates JAI/2001/HIP/023

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011] THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN ROUTE - In this case we can trace out two different routes. The most important runs via Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany to Belgium. The alternative route runs to Serbia in order to end up finally in Belgium through the Albanian route. The vehicles, which are mainly used during the transport, are train, bus and car. The planned final destination was for 10% of the victims the UK but they were on their way over dumped in prostitution in Belgium.

World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

United States Embassy Stockholm, August 27-31, 1996

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

CHILDREN OF EASTERN EUROPE - Those in institutions are not necessarily better off. Children are bought, or adopted in Poland, Romania and other eastern countries by British, Swiss and Scandinavian paedophiles. Reports indicate that healthy Polish children can be bought outright for $25,000. Others are adopted from cash-strapped orphanages whose directors may accept bribes to concoct the legal documents, or else let their charges be taken.

And so the trafficking of children from Eastern Europe into the countries of the West has grown. Once in Western Europe, the children are often passed through paedophile networks until they effectively disappear.

The Department of Labor’s 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2004

[accessed 19 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - In September 2003, the Government of Poland approved a national plan to combat trafficking that coordinates the efforts of the government, the private sector, and NGOs.  In cooperation with the Global Program Against Trafficking in Human Beings of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the government has also started a project against trafficking in persons. The project aims is to strengthen criminal justice responses to trafficking and to enhance the coordination among the criminal justice system, civil society, and other organizations to prevent trafficking and control the involvement of organized crime.

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - There are also reports that girls are trafficked to and from Poland for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Girls trafficked into the country are generally from the Eastern European region, and include countries such as Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, and are disproportionately Turkish and Roma minorities. Other European countries, including Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic, tend to be destination states for children who are trafficked from Poland.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 October 2002

[accessed 19 December 2010]

[48] While noting the increased efforts of the State party to cooperate in regional programs to prevent trafficking and repatriate victims, the Committee is nevertheless concerned that Poland continues to be a country of origin, destination and transit for children trafficked for sexual exploitation.

The Protection Project – Poland [PDF]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 24 February 2016]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Traffickers targeted young, unemployed, and poorly paid women, particularly those with weak family ties and support networks. Traffickers attracted victims through methods including fake employment offers, arranged marriages, fraud, and coercion. Some victims believed that they were accepting employment abroad as waitresses, maids, or nannies. While traveling to their purported destinations, traffickers confiscated their passports and identity papers and exerted control over them through fear and intimidation. Traffickers threatened victims with violence, and those who resisted or tried to flee were raped, beaten, or intentionally injured.

As many as 90 percent of those trafficked in the country had false travel documents, and the trafficking operation usually involved a network of criminals. One criminal would recruit the victim; a second would provide false travel documents and traffic her across the border; and a third would supervise her work with clients, functioning as a pimp. Arrest statistics indicated that approximately 25 percent of traffickers were non-citizens. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of large-scale auctions of women in Warsaw and other cities. Prices for trafficked women and girls reportedly started at approximately $2 thousand (6 thousand PLN).

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