Strasbourg, 06. 05. 2013 – The Polish authorities have taken a number of important steps to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings, but several important challenges remain, according to a report published today by the Council of Europe’s expert group on human trafficking, GRETA.
The report notes that the criminalisation of trafficking in human beings in Poland took effect only in September 2010. There is still a significant gap between the number of identified victims of trafficking and the number of successful prosecutions and convictions. Despite efforts to provide training to relevant professionals, GRETA considers that there is a need to improve the knowledge and sensitivity of judges, prosecutors, investigators and other professionals about human trafficking and the rights of victims.
GRETA’s report highlights are positive features the transparent approach to the planning and financing of anti-trafficking activities and the setting up of specialised structures. It also underlines the multi-disciplinary approach to victim identification in Poland and the issuing of special instructions to the Police and Border Guard on the identification of human trafficking victims.
However, further steps are necessary to ensure that all victims of trafficking are properly identified. In particular, the report notes that more attention should be paid to the identification of cases of trafficking for labour exploitation, which has been on the rise in Poland.
In addition, the report calls upon the authorities to introduce a nation-wide procedure for the identification of child victims of trafficking and to improve the provision of assistance tailored to their needs.
GRETA also urges the Polish authorities to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for victims of trafficking. Despite the existence of legal possibilities, very few - if any - victims of trafficking have received compensation.
The report is the first assessment by GRETA of the extent to which Poland implements the Council of Europe’s 2005 anti-trafficking convention. The convention came into force in respect of Poland in March 2009.