Poland
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    Profile

    Poland

    Capital

    Warsaw

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 595,858.21 million

    Income group

    High income

    Population

    37,965,475

    Area

    312,690 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    4.02

    Criminality score

    143rd of 193 countries

    32nd of 44 countries in Europe

    17th of 17 countries in Central & Eastern Europe

    Criminal market

    4.40

    Human trafficking

    5.50

    Human smuggling

    4.50

    Arms trafficking

    3.50

    Flora crimes

    2.00

    Fauna crimes

    2.50

    Non-renewable resource crimes

    5.50

    Heroin trade

    4.00

    Cocaine trade

    4.50

    Cannabis trade

    5.50

    Synthetic drug trade

    6.50

    Criminal actors

    3.63

    Mafia-style groups

    2.00

    Criminal networks

    5.50

    State-embedded actors

    3.50

    Foreign actors

    3.50

    6.13

    Resilience score

    35th of 193 countries

    24th of 44 countries in Europe

    2nd of 17 countries in Central & Eastern Europe

    Political leadership and governance

    5.50

    Government transparency and accountability

    4.00

    International cooperation

    7.00

    National policies and laws

    7.00

    Judicial system and detention

    5.50

    Law enforcement

    6.50

    Territorial integrity

    7.50

    Anti-money laundering

    7.00

    Economic regulatory capacity

    7.50

    Victim and witness support

    5.00

    Prevention

    6.00

    Non-state actors

    5.00

    6.13 3.63 4.40 6.13 3.63 4.40

    6.13

    Resilience score

    35th of 193 countries

    24th of 44 countries in Europe

    2nd of 17 countries in Central & Eastern Europe

    Political leadership and governance

    5.50

    Government transparency and accountability

    4.00

    International cooperation

    7.00

    National policies and laws

    7.00

    Judicial system and detention

    5.50

    Law enforcement

    6.50

    Territorial integrity

    7.50

    Anti-money laundering

    7.00

    Economic regulatory capacity

    7.50

    Victim and witness support

    5.00

    Prevention

    6.00

    Non-state actors

    5.00

    Analysis

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    People

    Poland is a source country, transit point and destination for human trafficking. Local networks with international ties traffic vulnerable Polish citizens to work as modern-day slaves in Western Europe. The majority of these victims are middle-aged males who are used for forced labour, whereas women are used mainly for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced prostitution. Poland is a destination country for human trafficking from other European countries and Asia. Local as well as foreign organized crime groups who operate in Poland use their victims for forced labour, prostitution, begging and criminal exploitation. Human trafficking victims who transit through Poland originate mainly from Africa, Asia and other European countries.

    Poland is a key transit country for human smuggling, typically along land and air routes from Africa and Asia through Greece, Romania and Hungary, as well as directly over the Ukrainian border, before moving further west and north. Human smuggling is a significant source of income for organized crime groups in Poland, who use the money for criminal activities in other areas. These groups organize transport and temporary shelter for migrants at all stages of their journey and provide them with forged or falsified documents, including travel documents. These activities were amplified during the 2015 migration crisis.

    Trade

    Despite the fact that its firearms market is strictly regulated and controlled by the military, Poland, as an EU border country, is a transit point for arms trafficking. Poland's illicit arms market is widely dispersed and low key, and occasionally involves loosely organized groups. The main source of illegal firearms in Poland is local factories and excavations at World War II battlefields.

    Environment

    The illicit trade in flora in Poland is not well developed. However, there are growing concerns about the illegal trading of flora via the internet. There are reports of occasional seizures of holiday souvenirs at Poland's border posts, as well as the opportunistic trading of cacti. Illegal timber imports are an issue. Poland is mainly a destination and transit country for illicit wildlife trafficking, particularly via the internet. Illegal trade is mostly of exotic species destined for pet shops. Poland's border with Ukraine has been identified as a wildlife trafficking hotspot. While there is no proven link between wildlife crimes and the organized crime market, some sources claim they are linked. Criminal networks consist mainly of loosely associated groups engaged in opportunistic activities. Poland is well known for the illegal extraction and smuggling of natural resources. Local and foreign criminal networks, as well as legitimate companies, participate in non-renewable resource crimes. Smugglers use land and maritime routes; and source countries are based in Western, Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as the Black Sea region.

    Drugs

    Poland is a source and transit country for cannabis products, including hashish, resin and dried leaves. Cannabis was the most-used drug in Poland in 2017, with a higher percentage of people being treated for abusing it than any other drug. Marijuana and hashish are smuggled through Poland from Morocco or Libya to Russia. Cannabis and cannabis resin from European countries are also smuggled into Poland. Organized crime groups, including criminal actors from various Asian countries, run the domestic cultivation of cannabis, as well as the market for illegal cannabis products. Members of Polish criminal groups also organize the cultivation of cannabis outside the country's borders. In addition, Poland is a source, transit and destination country for synthetic drugs. It is the country's second-largest drug market. Poland is the main producer of amphetamine for the European market. The most-common synthetic drugs on the domestic market are amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA/Ecstasy, GBL, BMK and other so-called designer drugs. Organized crime groups with international ties control most of the market.

    Poland is a transit and destination country for heroin that comes from Afghanistan through the Balkans and into various countries in Western Europe, predominantly the United Kingdom and Germany. Heroin is also smuggled via air and maritime routes around North Africa, as well as via the Caucasus and the Black Sea. There is a small domestic market for Polish homemade heroin, known as ‘kompot’. Organized mafia-style groups, who are often involved in numerous forms of crime across Europe, dominate the heroin market. Poland is primarily a transit and destination country for cocaine coming from South America to Western Europe. The drug reaches Poland from the west and east via land, air or sea. The main cocaine hotspots in Poland are the seaports of Gdynia and Gdańsk. The cocaine trade is characterized by loose networks and horizontal structures, as well as various marketing strategies that include call centres, the darknet and social media. Criminal groups from Africa also play a significant role in cocaine trafficking.

    Criminal Actors

    There are currently no mafia-style groups in Poland, with the most famous ones having been dissolved in the first decade of the 2000s. However, older members of these groups are reportedly trying to get back into illicit activities. There are currently several organized crime groups operating in the country, consisting of a mix of local and foreign leaders and members. Criminal networks participate mostly in drug-related crimes and economic offences. Depending on their field, they rely on the darknet and social media platforms for anonymity. Most networks are widespread and very few groups exercise violence. In the last few years, the participation of football hooligans in organized crime groups has been noted.

    Most foreign criminal actors are involved in the trade of narcotics and human trafficking. Some Russian criminals operating in Poland are linked to their group headquarters back home. Criminal diasporas run local organized crime operations but are equally involved in international criminal activities. There is no confirmed information about the participation of state-embedded actors in such groups. However, some reports on this subject have suggested links between police corruption and organized crime.

    Leadership and governance

    The Polish government has expressed its intention to fight organized crime, and all political parties have declared it important. However, in practice, organized crime is not a priority. The government’s central anti-corruption office (CBA) has been working to combat public and economic corruption through cooperation with international organizations and the relevant authorities in other countries. Alongside the CBA, the internal security agency has been monitoring public procurement and working on the realization of the government's 2014–2019 strategy to combat corruption.

    Poland has signed various international agreements and protocols targeting organized crime. As a member of the EU, Poland participates in the implementation of its policies on counteracting and combating crime. Poland has extradition agreements with several countries and a number of bilateral cooperation agreements in the fight against organized crime. Polish law criminalizes acts of organized crime, including drug offences, the obstruction of justice, participation in organized crime groups, the smuggling of migrants, illegal trade in cultural property, and human trafficking. The country has a strategy for the development of better state security by 2022, as well as a national plan to fight corruption, economic crime, and drug and human trafficking.

    Criminal justice and security

    Poland's justice system includes a supreme court, common courts, administrative courts and military courts, all of which are able to pass judgment against organized crime. Penalties and prison sentences are imposed effectively. The media reports on irregularities in law enforcement, and the government is in favour of strengthening laws aimed at preventing corruption in the judiciary. Until 2016, corruption was not common in Polish courts. The EU has noted that the treatment of prisoners in Poland is not in line with its policies or even with international human rights standards. There are also reports of drug distribution in prisons. The national police force cooperates with the military police and information services in the fight against organized crime. The national prosecutor's office has a special department for organized crime and corruption. The activities undertaken by the Polish police force's central bureau of investigation are aimed at combating organized crime of a cross-border nature and related to terrorist acts. Nevertheless, effectiveness in countering specific organized crime activities, such as human trafficking, is lacking.

    Because of its location on the eastern border of the EU, many products, especially tobacco and cigarettes, are smuggled into, through and out of Poland. Despite this, the country sees no challenges to its territorial integrity. The Polish border guard is a well-organized and well-functioning institution.

    Economic and financial environment

    Poland recently amended its anti-money laundering laws so that they are aligned to EU legal regulations, and overall, there has been a decline in the country's shadow economy. Nevertheless, the grey market continues to flourish in some sectors, such as the short-term apartment rental market. Poland has several institutions that counteract money laundering and the financing of terrorism. At the centre is the General Inspector of Financial Information, which can block accounts and withhold transactions, as well as investigate suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing.

    Civil society and social protection

    In 2018, the Polish government approved a programme for assistance to crime victims, to be rolled out from 2019 to 2021. This programme has introduced uniform standards of assistance for the victims and witnesses of crime. The country has a number of strategies in place to prevent drug crimes, economic crimes, corruption and human trafficking. Despite this, there is a lack of evaluation of their effectiveness. Whistle-blower policies are still not finalized and in use.

    Various non-governmental and international organizations offer support and protection for the witnesses and victims of organized crime. Civil society organizations play an important role in exposing political irregularities. Media independence plays a significant role in the uncovering of organized crime. However, it has experienced various forms of intimidation by the government in recent years.

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    The criminal markets score is represented by the pyramid base size and the criminal actors score is represented by the pyramid height, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. The resilience score is represented by the panel height, which can be identified by the side of the panel.

    This report was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State.

    ENACT is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in affiliation with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

    The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.