Seminar on National Referral Mechanism held in Warsaw

Yesterday, Wednesday 18 April, the Polish Parliament hosted the fourth event of the Parliamentarians Against Human Trafficking (PAHT) project, a one day parliamentary seminar on the National Referral Mechanism.

Parliamentarians from across Europe travelled to Poland to meet with Polish experts and NGOs on trafficking, where they discussed a variety of topics relating to National Referral Mechanisms and how parliamentarians can continue to work together effectively to tackle human trafficking.

The event kicked off with a welcome address by Mr. Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, Polish Minister of Justice. This was followed by contributions from Jessica Glover, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy, Warsaw, and Anthony Steen, Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation.

Mariana Katzarova, Senior Advisor on Anti-Trafficking Issues at ODIHR, then delivered a keynote speech on how the National Referral Mechanism contributes to better protection and assistance of victims of trafficking.

After a short press briefing, Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE (UK) chaired a session on how parliamentarians can build up groups as part of an EU parliamentary network. With contributions from Radek John MP (Czech Republic), Magdalena Vasaryova MP (Slovakia), Maria Paula Cardoso MP (Portugal), Arminas Lydeka MP (Lithuania) and Mailis Reps MP (Estonia) – as well as Robert Biedron MP and Ryszard Kalisz MP from Poland – parliamentarians from across the EU shared their contrasting experiences of developing awareness of trafficking in their parliaments.

The afternoon session focused on co-operation between NGOs and law enforcement representatives regarding referral of victims of trafficking. The session featured contributions from key Polish stakeholders in this area – including Piotr Mierecki (Ministry of Interior), Irena Dawid-Olczyk (National Consulting and Intervention Centre for Victims of Trafficking), Colonel Tomasz Semeniuk (Border Guards) and Inspector Monika Sokolowska (Anti-Trafficking Unit – Police Headquarters).

The Warsaw seminar followed previous events over the last few months in London, The Hague and Rome. The next seminar of the project will take place in Lisbon in June.

The project is very grateful for the assistance of Ryszard Kalisz MP and the staff of the Justice and Human Rights Committee in the Polish Parliament for their assistance with the seminar. We would also like to thank the British Embassy for their support of the seminar.