Is trafficking in women flourishing at our border? The expert says they saw it there

  • – For example, we have three men who are together, talk, point fingers at different women, and then consult. Wouldn’t that be clear? When things start to change, others may have been more restrained, an expert tells us
  • As Hoppe noted, helpless people, especially women, needed transportation, and no one asked who the drivers were. The expert suspects that the refugees, on the one hand, felt anxious, but got into the cars as a result of great tiredness and fatigue.
  • Daniela witnessed a conversation between an elderly couple and a young Ukrainian woman interrupted by a suspect. He tried his best to persuade her to take her with him. Hoppe then warned him in Ukrainian not to go with him
  • More information can be found on the main page of Onet.pl.

Karolina Błaszkiewicz, Onet: I recently heard that human traffickers are recruiting young refugees at a train station in Berlin. You have been on the Polish-Ukrainian border to see if there is anything similar.

Daniela Hoppe, Light House Foundation: People have written to us about what they see and hear about disturbing situations. When we went with Przemysh, the police confirmed the news. In all this chaos, people who chose girls appeared. They just pointed their fingers at them and said, “Oh, we like it, we don’t.” Then they approached them and offered to carry them.

Then reception points were organized at the places at the disposal of the commune. And so in Przemyśl – except for the station – it was, for example, the old Tesco. A large area. I froze to see women and children lying on the floor on the empty shelves of the mall. Finally, someone came and chose the girls as if they were shopping.

The rest of the text is below the video.

That sounds terrible.

Such a person behaves like a customer in the mall. That’s why I was horrified during the conversations with the police … After they understood what had happened, they started to identify and check people. Among them were those previously convicted of fraud.

I think there have been similar cases in other places, but perhaps they have not been caught. The police assured me that the officers were circling in “civilian clothes” and trying to monitor everything. Although, of course, this is not always possible. Imagine a train traveling 4,000 miles with Przemyś. refugees. How will you “catch” everyone in such a crowd? It is very difficult to control.

What are the “catch” methods?

For example, we have three men who are together, talking, pointing fingers at different women, and then consulting. Wouldn’t that be clear? Others could have been more discreet as circumstances began to change.

Anyone could enter the mall we talked about in the beginning, and it was more or less the same. They immediately caught the eye of the police. It is difficult to detect other situations when someone approaches these women, talks to them, offers help, offers transport – it can be an honest one, but it can also be a malicious one. The police no doubt have the experience of observing and recognizing criminal behavior.

Can you do something about it?

At a meeting of the Working Group on Assistance to Victims of Trafficking at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, I demanded the adoption of relevant regulations. After all, the ministry monitors the work of the police and border guards. Therefore, I asked to close the reception of drivers. In order not to fall into a situation where virtually anyone can enter by lifting the “Warsaw” or “Krakow” page, and thus take them wherever they want and wherever they want, leaving no trace of themselves.

Desperate people, especially women, needed transportation, and no one asked who the drivers were. I think the refugees were worried on the one hand, but they got into the cars, which was the result of great tiredness and fatigue. It seemed that they wanted to get to their destinations and leave the reception as soon as possible, which is obvious. They often do not sleep for three days!

Exactly …

They were cold, tired, stressed – they dreamed of a peaceful sleep in a warm, calm and, above all, safe place. Therefore, they used every help they offered, they knew that they still could not check who the recipient was … It was terrible for them …

Did you see any changes later?

Imagine that in an abandoned store pavilion, bedding sets are lined up one after the other. It was the same in the corridors along the wall. People slept like this while waiting for transport. After all, each box contained the name of a specific city. For example, in the 14th box Lodza, in the sixth box Krakow and so on. There were refugees waiting for transportation.

But when I was still able to get there, all I had to do was shout, “Warsaw!” I didn’t have to show my ID to anyone. approximately. Less than three weeks after the start of the war, two disciplines were imposed. In most places, at least, you had to register – either officers or volunteers. Drivers and people using vehicles are registered. It was necessary to fill out a form indicating who was driving where and by what means.

In addition, someone may be injured during these two weeks.

Yes. And no one knows where the women who use unproven aid are. But let’s agree that it is just as difficult to recognize their potential torturers. Because they certainly look very polite and helpful.

There were times when I wondered if I would be treated badly. I tried to convince the other side that I was honest. At the same time, someone with bad intentions may have done the same. I have witnessed such a situation.

What did you see

I overheard a Ukrainian woman talking to an elderly couple in a crowded crowd. The men, in their 60s, told him they could take him. He agreed, but just then a young man cut them. He saw her walking in the same direction. I thought, “He already understands. Why is he pushing here with his help?” You can see that he really cares.

He was in such a hurry that he refused to marry. They must have come to the conclusion that there is no need to fight, they will look for someone else. Completely healthy reaction. After all, when someone wants to help, he takes as much as he can. If he hears “no”, he offers to help the person standing next to him.

How did it end?

I stood between them and, in a broken Ukrainian, turned to the girl: “Don’t go with her, go with them. This is a couple, you are safer than a young boy.” I saw him listening to me. But he was openly dissatisfied. I don’t know what his intention was, but why did he want to rip it off? Then it disappeared from my sight somewhere.

What would have happened to him if he had gone with her?

He could take her anywhere, use her, rape her, beat her, rob her, or take her to an escort agency. A lawyer we knew told us that there were Ukrainian women involved in prostitution in a certain city. They were brought by people known among the local community as pimps.

We were recently told that men appeared at the station in Krakow in vests with a slight Ukrainian print. It was about transport to the Netherlands. They were very obedient, but they were not afraid of anything. They did not have voluntary ID cards, although they are required and issued by the city administration. They stopped at the station and hired him. I know that the police have already dealt with them.

Now, what steps can a simple person take to protect refugees?

Look and ask. Some time ago, in the Facebook group, we were faced with the question of whether we can check the transport offered by an organization from Italy. Normal vigilance worked here.

My observations show that many people reacted very maturely and wisely. It turned out that citizens are extremely aware. Much attention has been paid to ensuring the safety of refugees. We have a caring instinct – especially for lonely, young women. This is inspiring.

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