Regional (voivodship) cooperation in Poland

In 2010, the Mazovian Unit against Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) was appointed in Warsaw. It was the first regional (voivodship) unit in Poland. The Mazovian Unit is set up as a regional platform for exchange of information and cooperation between institutions and organisations involved in counteracting trafficking in human beings.

The unit aims to improve the organisation of preventative activities, support and reintegration of victims (in particular Polish citizens) and trigger the activity of local governments and no-governmental organisations in this regard. Apart from that, it also acted as a pilot project in developing regional forms of cooperation in other regions of Poland.

One of the major tasks under the National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings for 2013-2015 was to initiate more voivodship units against THB in Poland. So far 14 voivodship units have been created.

In each unit a THB coordinator has been appointed. This THB coordinator has been obliged to identify partners from various regional stakeholders: local and municipal administrations, NGO’s, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs).

Partners involved in the cooperation

The units are formed by representatives of regional police and border guard forces, local NGOs, regional social assistance units, academic entities, the labour inspectorates, as well as the municipal authorities.

The main role of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) participating in the units is to provide updated information about the trends and risks related to the crime of THB in the region. LEAs also identify victims and refer them to regional assistance centres. The other partners are mostly engaged either in preventive activities or in supporting the victims.

What made this case successful?

The voivodship units are regional platforms for exchanging local information mainly about preventing and combating the crime of THB. Thanks to the unit, local stakeholders can cooperate and be more successful in their actions. This cooperation is especially expected when quick assistance to victims is needed.

The units can also play a part in organising regional awareness about prevention through for example local conferences, university lectures and classes at schools.