This page provides information about how to stay safe from exploitation and organisations to contact if you need help and support.
Many people from Latin American countries travel to Poland following offers of employment opportunities. There are emerging reports that, on arrival in Poland, the jobs were not as promised with many citing experiences of exploitative working conditions. These include:
- deductions in salaries (due to costs of travel, accommodation, documents, or other)
- poor living conditions
- withholding of wages
- working excessive hours with no or little breaks
- threats or intimidation
If you have experienced any of the above, this is exploitation and should not be tolerated.
Some agencies also promise a work permit, but do not organise it, and often fire workers after the visa-free travel period of 90 days passes.
Please note that work permits do NOT regularise your status in Poland, do NOT give you residence status and are NOT the same as work visas.
You can find more information on this below, under the section ‘Your rights once you are employed’.
If you moved to Poland for a job, and it’s not what you were promised, there is help available. If you need assistance on legal and immigration issues unrelated to human trafficking, please contact The Legal Intervention Association.
How to stay safe
Please know there are organisations that can help people in your situation. You can find details for help and support organisations below.
Finding Work Safely in Poland
- Factories (fish, chicken)
- Food processing
- Clothes production
Please know that this list is not exclusive. You may experience exploitation in any job sector. If this is the case, there is help available to you.
Some job ads posted online might not be legitimate.
You should be suspicious of any recruitment process which has any of the following characteristics:
You can report suspicious job ads within The STOP APP.
Your employer is required to give you a written contract prior to the start of work. This obligation also applies to civil law contracts (such as a contract for a specific task, a harvest help contract).
The contract should not be entirely in favour of the employer and should not make you renounce your labour rights.
The contract must include:
- Data about the employee and the employer, the company where you will work, and the labor agency
- Type of contract (for example, fixed-term contract)
- Date of execution of the contract
- Working conditions, such as type of work activities, place and time of work, remuneration for work, start date.
You should not have to experience any of the following at work:
- Being withheld your wages, or paid less than your full agreed salary
- Living in uncomfortable and unhygienic accommodation provided by the employer
- Being denied breaks, rest, and/or annual leave
- Having deductions from your salary to pay back for a recruitment debt (no one has the right to force someone to work for them, even if money is owed).
- Restricted or no access to your earnings
- Being subject to intimidation, coercion, and/or physical or emotional abuse
- Excessive working hours
- No access to your passport or identity documents
- Restricted movement
Click here for more detailed information on your work rights, valid work permits, and employment contracts from the Mexican Embassy in Poland, and click here for similar advice from the Colombian Embassy.
If you have experienced any of the above, know this should not be tolerated and there are organisations that can help you.
You can report such incidents within The STOP APP. If possible, document all violations at work in the form of photo/video materials. If anyone is in immediate danger, or a crime is being or has been committed, call the emergency services.
Make sure to make a note of what happened, including details of:
The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay almost all workers are entitled to. In most countries, employers are bound by law to pay their workers a national minimum wage.
In Poland, there is a minimum wage set by the government, and no employee in this country may earn less than this mandatory wage rate.
The national minimum wage in Poland is:
PLN 3 490.00 per month
PLN 22.80 per hour
These rates will change in July 2023.
Employers in Poland who do not comply with the obligation to pay the Minimum Wage may be subject to a penalty imposed by Polish government authorities.
For information about other National Minimum Wages in other countries, you can visit this website for further details.
To learn more about safe employment and the indicators of labour exploitation, click on this guide from A21.
Details of support organisations
Please mention STOP THE TRAFFIK if you make contact with any of the organisations listed below.
The 112 European emergency number
If you or anyone you know are in immediate danger, call the 112 European emergency number. The number is free of charge, 24/7, anywhere in the European Union. Citizens can dial 112 to reach the emergency services, including the police, emergency medical services and the fire brigade.
116111 European Helpline for Children and Adolescents
The European Helpline for Children and Adolescents provides psychological support for free to children and adolescents. The service helps children in need of care and protection and links them to services and resources. The helpline operates on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year. Calls to the helpline are free of charge.
La Strada Poland
La Strada Poland is a non-governmental organisation that aims to combat and prevent human trafficking. They run a helpline that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The helpline provides information, advice, and guidance with regards to human trafficking. Services are available in English, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish language. Translators can support, but please note the response may take longer. The main hotline number: 00 48 22 628 99 99 (landline phone), You can call also: + 48 605 687 750 or message via Whatsapp on + 48 605 687 750.
The Legal Intervention Association (Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej)
The Legal Intervention Association (Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej) works to uphold respect, human rights and equality. They support refugees and migrants in Poland. They provide free legal assistance to people with migration experience. When their rights are at risk, they represent them in courts and national authorities and the European Court of Human Rights, and actively participate in the creation of migration law by intervening and issuing opinions on legal regulations. Legal advices: [email protected] +48 880145372 (the phone accepts calls Monday-Friday, between 3 pm and 4 pm ) Office: +48 792 568 561 www.interwencjaprawna.pl https://www.facebook.com/Stowarzyszenie.Interwencji.Prawnej
A21 is an international NGO, which helps when there is a need to relocate to a different part of the world. Our Reach, Rescue, and Restore programs work together to provide a comprehensive response to human trafficking. Each program has been designed to stand alone–filling critical gaps in the communities we work in without duplicating efforts. We are also committed to giving away our resources and knowledge to other groups combatting human trafficking so we can reach a tipping point where slavery is abolished everywhere, forever.
The Salvation Army Poland
The Salvation Army in Poland provides help to refugees with food packages, clothes, toiletries, and support in form of pastoral care, general advice with help in job seeking including job verification service, information on prevention of Human Trafficking, support filling in governmental forms, and access to IT facility. We run a number of programs in our centers that are free to attend; such as language courses, family groups, and youth and kids' clubs. We offer services in Polish, English, Swedish, and Ukrainian. For support with issues related to trafficking, call +48 605 368 604
You can contact your country’s embassy in Poland who maybe able to offer advice. However it is very important to only contact the embassy if you feel it is safe to do.
You can find details of the embassies and consulates in Warsaw here.
You can find the details of the consulates in Krakow here.
Information about human trafficking
Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people, either through deception, coercion or force for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers often profit financially from exploiting people.
Organ traffickers sometimes forcibly remove organs without consent or through coercion. This is illegal and dangerous. It could cost you your life.
There are many ways people might be lured and trapped into exploitation, including:
You might be offered help with travel and shelter in exchange for payment later. Don’t agree unless you know all the details. This is a method traffickers use to control and exploit people and an example of debt bondage.
It is very important that whatever choice you make, you ensure you put your safety as a top priority
Traffickers have many faces. They can be any age, gender or nationality.
Survivors often say they were trafficked by partners, spouses, friends, even family members.
- Traffickers are usually motivated by financial gain and are masters in the art of deception.
- They know how to gain trust and make you feel special.
- They often target people with offers of friendship.
- They may buy you gifts, give you money or offer you drugs or alcohol.
Unfortunately, traffickers’ prey upon people in a vulnerable situation. When trust is established, the trafficker’s kind behaviour may change, and they become controlling, even violent. Their aim was to lure you in, only to control and exploit you. They may convince you that the situation, even the abuse, is normal.
You can report any suspicious activity on The STOP APP.
Traffickers often force people into doing things they don’t want to do. They will pressure and force people to stay in the situation using threats and intimidation.
Control methods include:
If you have found yourself in a situation you want to escape, there are organisations that can help you.
Report an incident on The STOP APP
The STOP APP enables anybody who knows, has seen or even heard a situation that they believe to be human trafficking, to talk about it in a safe and secure space. You can report the incident anonymously and securely through the STOP APP. There will be no record of the report submitted on your phone.
- Have you seen a suspicious job advert online?
- Has someone offered you work that seemed suspicious?
- Are you or someone you know being forced to work, or being exploited?
Let us know. You can report your suspicions or observations by downloading our STOP APP. Make sure you are in safe place away from the suspected incident when making the report.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a human trafficking prevention organisation. This app collects individuals’ stories of global human trafficking to disrupt and prevent this crime. We are not a rescue organisation and this app is not monitored 24/7 but will be checked on the next working day. If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed please contact trusted authorities.