Press releases

European conference in Warsaw to debate prostitution and trafficking

[Brussels and Warsaw, 24 June 2013] The Polish Women’s Lobby (PWL) and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest coalition of women’s NGOs in Europe, will on 25 June host a European conference on “Prostitution and trafficking in women: what has Poland got to do with it?” in Warsaw. The conference aims at bringing the issues of prostitution and trafficking in women and girls on the political agenda of Poland, and involving decision-makers in reflecting on possible ways forward to address the growing sex industry and exploitation of women and girls in Poland.

Hosted by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, the event will be organised around two panels. The first panel invites academics and experts to address the issue of prostitution from a gender equality perspective. The different views on prostitution and trafficking, and the various policy approaches in the European Union (EU) will be presented, as well as the perspective of the European Network of Migrant Women.

The second panel is dedicated to the role of the State and of civil society organisations. Agnieszka Koz?owska-Rajewicz, Minister and Government plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment, will address the situation in Poland, while Zoi Sakelliadou, from the office of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, will present the recent work of the European Commission with regards trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation. An interactive roundtable will then also involve Joanna Senyszyn, Member of the European Parliament, and Ryszard Kalisz, Member of the Polish Parliament.

The Polish Women’s Lobby and the European Women’s Lobby hold that prostitution is a form of violence against women which hinders the realisation of equality between women and men, and that the EU and its Member States should develop comprehensive strategies on ending violence against women and prostitution. “It is not surprising that the lack of EU and national policies on prostitution has led to an increase in procuring and fuels trafficking in women into Europe for sexual purposes and sex tourism”, explains Malgorzata Tarasiewicz, President of the Polish Women’s Lobby and EWL Board member. “In order to ambitiously tackle trafficking in women for sexual purposes, the EU and its Member States, including Poland, must uppermost tackle procuring and the demand side of the phenomenon through awareness raising, education to equality and effective sanctions to prostitute-users and procurers.”

While the European Commission has unveiled new European data on the dramatic increase of trafficking in the EU, and in particular of sexual exploitation, the conference comes very timely to provoke a serious debate in Poland about the trivialisation of prostitution, its links with trafficking and with gender equality. The event is part of the EWL campaign ‘Together for a Europe free from prostitution’, which benefit from the support of more than 40 Members of the European Parliament. The EWL initiated the Brussels’ Call, an abolitionist manifesto on prostitution, which has been signed by more than 200 NGOs from all over Europe.


For further information, please contact:

At the European Women’s Lobby:

  • • In Brussels: Ms Anna Bates, EWL Communications and Media Officer, Tel: (32),,
  • • In Warsaw on 25 June: Ms Pierrette Pape, EWL Policy Officer and Project Coordinator, Tel: +32 486 39 17 17,

At the Polish Women’s Lobby:

Note to editors:

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. EWL membership extends to organisations in all 27 EU Member States and four candidate countries, as well as to 21 European-wide organisations, representing a total of more than 2000 associations.

The Polish Women’s Lobby (BWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in Poland, and the national coordination of the EWL in Poland, working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men.

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