Security Class Gets Lessons from Polish Police Leader

Gen. Miroslaw Schossler, Deputy Director of the Polish National Police (PNP), was introduced by former SHSU Graduate Student Refal Wasiak, Adjutant for the PNP.
Gen. Miroslaw Schossler, Deputy Director of the Polish National Police (PNP), was introduced by former SHSU Graduate Student Refal Wasiak, Adjutant for the PNP.

The Deputy Commander of the Polish National Police provided a guest lecture to a security studies class at the College of Criminal Justice about the challenges of combating human trafficking in his country.

Gen. Miroslaw Schossler, who serves as the Deputy Commander in charge of Criminal Services for the national police force, said there are four types of human trafficking cases in his country, including prostitution; forced labor; petty crimes and begging; and bank credit and social benefits. While prostitution represents the greatest number of cases, the newest issue is those who use victims to apply for bank credit or social services.

Gen. Schossler
Gen. Schossler
“It’s a brand new category of human trafficking,” said Schossler through an interpreter. “This consists, in a nutshell, of organized crime looking for poor people without a job with a large number of children. They go to Germany or Great Britain to the work force commission and ask for financial assistance. They register for unemployment and say they are needing social and financial support. They apply for credit. The victims get very little and organized crime takes most of the money.”

Poland is a destination and transient country for human trafficking victims in the sex trade, lured by promises of jobs in hotels and restaurants, but instead forced into prostitution. Many of the victims come from Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Vietnam, Romania and Russia. They are stripped of their passports and identification, raped, forced into drug addiction and work as roadside prostitutes. Some stay in Poland, while others pass through the country on the way to other European nations.

Gen. Schossler (r) discussed human trafficking in Dr. Magdalena Denham's (l)class.
Gen. Schossler (r) discussed human trafficking in Dr. Magdalena Denham's (l)class.
Some Polish women also are baited with fake job opportunities in other countries and are forced into the sex trade. “They take their passport and limit their movements and opportunities,” Schossler said.

“The victims of human trafficking are not only the victims of crime, but they are deprived of their dignity,” said Schossler. “The trauma and psychological impact may last their entire lives. There is a saying in Poland: ‘Human trafficking is slavery of the 21st Century.’”

The human trafficking problem has increased in Poland since 1989, when the country became a democratic regime. Since then, the country joined the European Union, an economic and political union of 28 states in Europe region, in 2004 and the Schengen Area, which abolish border control among 26 European county, in 2007. As a result, there has been an increase in unemployment, changes to economic status levels and an influx of people into the country.

“It is important for our students to understand that global issues are part of the Homeland Security Enterprise; human trafficking whether in Poland or in the United States represents a threat to safety and security that transcends borders,” said Dr. Magdalena Denham, Assistant Professor in the Department of Security Studies. “Consequently, learning about strategies Poland uses to counter that threat and to assist the victims of human trafficking crimes contributes to enhanced critical thinking about strategies used domestically.”

The Polish National Police are set up in 16 states and a metro area.The Polish National Police are set up in 16 states and a metro area.In addition to discussing human trafficking, Schossler gave students an overview of the Polish National Police, which has nearly 100,000 commissioned officers and 25,000 civilian staff. The paramilitary organization operates in 16 districts and the Metro Police. They have five police academies, including one higher education institute, and four general police academies to train regular and “prevention” police.

The “prevention” division, which consists of uniformed police officers, is responsible for anti-riot efforts, special event security, traffic, tactical operations and anti-terrorism activities. There is also a logistics division, which handles the business end of policing, including communications, information technology, finances and logistics for police. Finally, Internal Affairs, crimes by police, media relations and internal audits are handled directly by the Commander’s Office.

About one million crime reports are filed annually with the Polish National Police, resulting in 941,000 cases because some people are charged with more than one crime. The clearance rate for crimes is about 67 percent, Schossler.
Schossler oversees criminal services for the national police. Among his duties are:

  • The Central Bureau of Investigations (comparable to the FBI)
  • Investigation, recognition and surveillance of terrorism activities
  • Bureau of Central Services, which includes detectives, investigators and undercover agents
  • International Police Cooperative, which coordinates policing efforts with surrounding countries
  • Central Crime Lab, which includes fingerprints, chemical testing, trace, forensics and psychology.

Poland is part of an international exchange program with the Criminal Justice Center, which provides professional exchange opportunities with the Law Enforcement Management Institute and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas on a biennial basis. In addition, Schossler was investigating research opportunities with the College of Criminal Justice and touring local agencies as part of his visit.

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