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Publication Title

Washington University Global Studies Law Review

Abstract

This Note analyzes how Poland has developed and implemented legislation criminalizing human trafficking. Part I will describe the crime of human trafficking from a global perspective by providing the scale of the crime worldwide, a description of the victims and perpetrators, and the services for which the victims are exploited. It will also describe the legislative measures that the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States have taken to combat human trafficking. Part II will look at the effects of these measures in Poland.[1] The history of incorporating human trafficking into Poland’s penal code reveals that international agreements do effectively influence governments to codify human trafficking as a crime. However, analysis of Polish criminal proceedings reveals that enforcement of such laws has been largely inconsistent despite the Ministry of the Interior’s efforts to create an effective program to combat human trafficking. This Note will argue that inconsistent application of the law is due to Polish society’s lack of understanding of the crime, which has led to inconsistent and mismanaged prosecution of human trafficking cases. Translating and transplanting the definition of human trafficking from the international agreements into the Polish penal code will not lead to effective prosecution in Poland. For effective prosecutions, Poles must understand the nature of trafficking and the purpose of criminalizing the practice. I argue that, in Poland, human trafficking case law and mismanaged criminal proceedings reveal at best a misunderstanding of the crime and at worst a disregard of victims’ rights and protections. Until the crime is understood as a human rights violation, human trafficking prosecutions will not be effective in Poland. However, the May 2010 amendment that, for the first time, codified the definition of human trafficking into the Polish penal code provides an avenue through which prosecutions can become more effective.

This Note analyzes how Poland has developed and implemented legislation criminalizing human trafficking. Part I will describe the crime of human trafficking from a global perspective by providing the scale of the crime worldwide, a description of the victims and perpetrators, and the services for which the victims are exploited. It will also describe the legislative measures that the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States have taken to combat human trafficking. Part II will look at the effects of these measures in Poland. The history of incorporating human trafficking into Poland’s penal code reveals that international agreements do effectively influence governments to codify human trafficking as a crime. However, analysis of Polish criminal proceedings reveals that enforcement of such laws has been largely inconsistent despite the Ministry of the Interior’s efforts to create an effective program to combat human trafficking. This Note will argue that inconsistent application of the law is due to Polish society’s lack of understanding of the crime, which has led to inconsistent and mismanaged prosecution of human trafficking cases. Translating and transplanting the definition of human trafficking from the international agreements into the Polish penal code will not lead to effective prosecution in Poland. For effective prosecutions, Poles must understand the nature of trafficking and the purpose of criminalizing the practice. I argue that, in Poland, human trafficking case law and mismanaged criminal proceedings reveal at best a misunderstanding of the crime and at worst a disregard of victims’ rights and protections. Until the crime is understood as a human rights violation, human trafficking prosecutions will not be effective in Poland. However, the May 2010 amendment that, for the first time, codified the definition of human trafficking into the Polish penal code provides an avenue through which prosecutions can become more effective.

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