Slavery in Poland existed on the territory of the Kingdom of Poland during the rule of the Piast dynasty in the Middle Ages.[1] It continued to exist in various forms until late in the 14th century when it was supplanted by the institution of serfdom, which has often been considered a form of modified slavery.

Terminology

Polish literature refers to this group of people as "unfree people" (Polish: ludzie niewolni, Latin: servi, ancillae, familia) rather than as slaves (niewolnicy).[1]

History

The institution of slavery as practiced in the Polish territories during the Early Middle Ages played a lesser (if still significant) economic or cultural role than in other states such as Roman Empire where slavery played a crucial role in keeping economy alive.[2] It existed on the territory of Kingdom of Poland during the times of the Piast dynasty;[1] in fact, the number of slaves rose significantly with the establishment of the Polish state, as most of the slaves were owned by the king.[3]

According to Samuel Augustus Mitchell, non-free people were emancipated in Poland in 1347 under the Statutes of Casimir the Great issued in Wiślica,[4] although there are indications that some form of slavery, in practice and law, continued at least till the end of the 14th century.[5] Throughout the remaining history of feudal Poland, particularly in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, much of the peasantry was subject to serfdom, which was often likened to slavery.[6][7] Serfdom was abolished in Poland in the 19th century during the times of the partitions of Poland.

Features

The slaves came primarily from the ranks of prisoners of war, and were treated as a commodity destined mostly for the largest slave market of its age: Prague. Later, between the 11th and 12th century, ransom was popularised due to acceptance of Christianity, but it covered mostly prisoners of prominence. Some people could also become enslaved due to their inability to pay off their debts, and occasionally enslavement was used instead of a death sentence. Children of niewolni would also belong to that class. They belonged to the king or knights. Niewolni owned by the king were organized in units of tens and hundreds.[1] Those who were not owned by the monarch were among the few in the Kingdom of Poland that could not rely on royal justice.[8]

Niewolni had a limited right to relocate themselves, and could own possessions.[9] Over time, their numbers decreased, due in part to some escaping and also because their owners saw it as more profitable to use them as peasants (Polish: czeladź, Latin: servi casati) rather than servants. Czeladź would have their own house, and would be little different from regular peasants or serfs.[1]

Present day

Main articles: Human trafficking in Poland, Prostitution in Poland, and Crime in Poland

Slavery is illegal in Poland. Poland is part of the European G6 Initiative Against Human Trafficking.[10] Contemporary slavery however still persists in Poland, just as it does in the rest of the world. According the Global Slavery Index, there were 128,000 people living in the condition of modern slavery in Poland as of 2019.[11]

Types of slavery found in Poland include forced labor, forced begging, and forced criminality.[12][13] Sectors of the Polish economy considered most vulnerable to slavery and other forms of exploitation include agriculture, construction, food processing, housekeeping and cleaning, although problems have also been found in the industrial production and catering sectors.[14] Some of the people subject to forced labour in Poland were from temporary workers from North Korea.[15][16][17] Common techniques for trafficking people into slavery from other countries include false job promises, high fees or alleged debts, rape, and withholding the person's documentation. False offers of employment are usually for sales or agricultural work. Many trafficking victims from Bulgaria and Ukraine are forced into sex slavery.[18]

See also

Further reading

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Juliusz Bardach, Boguslaw Lesnodorski, and Michal Pietrzak, Historia panstwa i prawa polskiego (Warsaw: Paristwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1987, pp.40–41
  2. ^ Juliusz Bardach, Boguslaw Lesnodorski, and Michal Pietrzak, Historia panstwa i prawa polskiego (Warsaw: Paristwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1987, p.18
  3. ^ Stefan Inglot; Jan Borkowski (1992). Historia chłopów polskich. Wydawn. Uniw. Wroc·lawskiego. p. 30. ISBN 978-83-229-0756-6. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  4. ^ Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1859). A general view of the world: comprising a physical, political, and statistical account of its grand divisions ... with their empires, kingdoms, republics, principalities, &c.: exhibiting the history of geographical science and the progress of discovery to the present time ... Illustrated by upwards of nine hundred engravings ... H. Cowperthwait & Co. p. 335. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  5. ^ Anna Klubówna (1982). Ostatni z wielkich Piastów. Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza. p. 85. ISBN 978-83-205-3317-0. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  6. ^ Jerzy Lukowski (3 August 2010). Disorderly liberty: the political culture of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the eighteenth century. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-4411-4812-4. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  7. ^ Larry Wolff (1 June 1996). Inventing Eastern Europe: the map of civilization on the mind of the enlightenment. Stanford University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-8047-2702-0. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  8. ^ Juliusz Bardach, Boguslaw Lesnodorski, and Michal Pietrzak, Historia panstwa i prawa polskiego (Warsaw: Paristwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1987, p.75
  9. ^ Helena Radlińska (1908). Z dziejów narodu: wypisy z źródeł i streszczenia z opracowań historycznych. Nakładem i drukiem M. Arcta. p. 212. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  10. ^ Hepburn, Stephanie; Simon, Rita J. (2013). Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 328.
  11. ^ "Maps | Global Slavery Index". www.globalslaveryindex.org. Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  12. ^ "2017 Trafficking in Persons Report: Poland". U.S. Department of State. Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  13. ^ Lasocik, Zbigniew; Rekosz-Cebula, Emilia; Wieczorek, Łukasz (October 2014). "Human Trafficking for Forced Labour in Poland – Effective prevention and Diagnostics of Mechanisms" (PDF). Council of the Baltic Sea States. ADSTRINGO Poland and Russia: Addressing Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation through Partnership, Enhanced Diagnostics and Improved Organizational Approaches. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  14. ^ Lasocik, Zbigniew; Rekosz-Cebula, Emilia; Wieczorek, Łukasz (October 2014). "Human Trafficking for Forced Labour in Poland – Effective prevention and Diagnostics of Mechanisms" (PDF). Council of the Baltic Sea States. ADSTRINGO Poland and Russia: Addressing Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation through Partnership, Enhanced Diagnostics and Improved Organizational Approaches. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  15. ^ Weis, Sebastian; Freundt (27 February 2017). "Cash for Kim: North Korean Forced Laborers in Poland". VICE. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Poland : A "land of possibilities" or modern slavery in Europe". Cafébabel. March 20, 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  17. ^ Hinshaw, Drew; Ojewska, Natalia (January 26, 2018). "How Workers in Europe Earned Money for North Korea—Until Now". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  18. ^ Hepburn, Stephanie; Simon, Rita J. (2013). Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 359.