What is human trafficking?

Published Publication date 29.07.2013

The relevant regulation in polish legal system, which came into force on 8th September 2010, is article 115 (22) of the Penal Code of 6th June 1997 containing a legal definition of trafficking in human beings as followed:

‘Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of:

  1. violence or unlawful threat,
  2. abduction,
  3. deception,
  4. misleading, the exploitation of a person’s mistake or their inability to properly comprehend the action being undertaken,
  5. the abuse of a relation of dependence, taking advantage
  6. of a critical situation or state of helplessness, giving or receiving of payments or benefits or its promise to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person – for the purpose of exploitation, even with the person’s consent. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others, pornography, or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, beggary, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of cells, tissues, or organs against the regulations of the article. Should the perpetrator’s behaviour concern a minor, it shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in points 1-6 of this article.’

The definition includes, as an offence, subjecting someone to any of the forms of exploitation mentioned in the Council Framework Decision of 19 July 2002 on combating trafficking in human beings (2002/629/JHA), including “forced or compulsory labour or services”. It focus not only on various forms of sexual exploitation, such as exploitation of the prostitution or pornography, but includes also forced labour and services, begging, servitude or other forms of exploitation that are humiliating to human’s dignity or removal of cells, tissues and organs.

Moreover, the art. 189a of Polish Penal Code is regulation which refers directly to the crime of trafficking in human beings:

  • ‘Article 189a (1): Whoever conducts a trafficking in persons shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a minimum term of 3 years.
  • (2): Whoever makes preparations to commit the offence specified under § 1, shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty from 3 months up to 5 years.’