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Poles’ Social Awareness of Trafficking in Human Beings

Zbigniew Lasocik1

This article is devoted to the problem of the awareness of Poles of the issue of human trafficking and forced labor. The results of public opinion polls conducted in Poland during 1998-2020 will be analyzed. Despite the fact that there were several such polls, the literature in Poland lacks any analysis and commentary. On the one hand, we are dealing with extensive empirical material; on the other, some of the studies raise serious doubts as to the methodology used, and third, the interpretation of the results sometimes causes significant
controversy. In world literature, the problem of social awareness of human trafficking has also been addressed much less frequently than issues such as the scale of the problem, the efficiency of prosecutions and the situation of victims.
The narrative axis of this study is the concept of an active society as presented by A. Etzioni, who claims that the sense of the existence of a community boils down to working out optimal responses to emerging social needs. That is why I ask the question “does Polish society see the problem of human trafficking as important, and has it developed a sense of readiness that guarantees that it will “deal with it” in the best possible way?” In light of the data collected and analyses conducted, my response is definitely negative. An apathetic and passive community turned out to be a “convenient” partner for a country that has never considered human
trafficking to be a priority and did not create a system to prevent this crime or efficiently prosecute perpetrators. In the article, I also argue that the low social awareness of citizens has become one of the factors that negatively affected the process of building an effective system for eliminating modern-day slavery in Poland.

Keywords: human trafficking, public opinion, social awareness, active society, well-functioning country.