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Irena Dawid-Olczyk

Poland , Class of 2022

Irena Dawid-Olczyk

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Ms. Dawid-Olczyk is a human rights activist and President of La Strada Poland who has devoted much of her professional life to assisting human trafficking victims.

In 1995, she co-founded what is now known as the La Strada Foundation Against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery – a leading NGO based in Warsaw that provides comprehensive assistance to trafficking victims. For years, she has advocated for the creation of a strong system of assistance and support for trafficking victims. In 2009, she conceptualized and secured funding from the Ministry of the Interior and Administration for the National Intervention and Consultation Center for Victims of Human Trafficking (KCIK). Every year, La Strada has successfully competed to run KCIK, which directly assists more than 200 victims of human trafficking, providing them with safe shelter, psychological and medical care, legal counseling, and other needed services. Ms. Dawid-Olczyk also created several training programs on combating human trafficking and generated the idea to organize a Human Trafficking Film Festival in Warsaw. She is a consultant for films, theater plays, and television programs that feature human trafficking and appears in media as an expert on human trafficking.

Ms. Dawid-Olczyk has been an important partner for the Polish government for years, and her organization has been the government’s primary partner in providing assistance to trafficking victims. Since the beginning of the refugee crisis on the Poland-Ukraine border, La Strada has been actively involved in prevention and public awareness activities. The organization prepared guidelines with basic safety rules for refugees from Ukraine and staffed a hotline to respond to dangerous situations that could be connected to human trafficking.

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