Polish women are being sexually assaulted by migrant drivers working for ride-sharing apps like Uber and Bolt. What’s behind the crisis?

Migrants from the Caucasus and beyond are entering Poland and taking over ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt, but the numerous Polish women being sexually assaulted is raising alarm bells

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Polskie Radio 24
Source: Polish police.

In Europe, criminal and terrorist acts committed by foreigners, such as shootings, driving into crowds with trucks, or using explosive devices, represent only a small portion of the overall problem with migration. Fortunately, Poland has not witnessed such a ruinous transformation of society. Unlike Germany, Polish authorities have not outwardly invited migrants associated with these acts, but it does not mean they haven’t infiltrated the country.

In March of this year, a Georgian taxi driver was arrested in Wrocław on suspicion of engaging in “another sexual activity,” which is sexual assault without attempted sexual intercourse, with a 23-year-old woman.

The events reported by the Rzeczpospolita daily in 2022 were also widely discussed in Poland. The newspaper discovered that there were 11 instances in 2021 where foreign Uber and Bolt drivers abducted women who had booked rides with them, took them to secluded locations, and sexually assaulted them or molested them. Law enforcement agencies recorded another nine such cases as of May 2022, but there could be many more unreported sexual assaults.

According to Rzeczpospolita, out of 20 confirmed cases, the perpetrators included six Georgians, two Uzbeks, two Tajiks, one Algerian, and one Turkmenistan citizen. The nationalities of the remaining individuals were not determined. The victims were from Poland and other countries, with the youngest being 16 years old.

Police authorities have noted a consistent pattern in the crimes committed by these drivers. Most incidents occur at night or in the early morning, targeting female passengers who request transportation from bars or nightclubs. The perpetrators anticipate their victims to be under the influence of alcohol, impairing their alertness.

Upon reaching the designated destination, the drivers often deviate from the intended route and stop the car on a secluded or side street. Subsequently, the attackers move to the back seat, subjecting some passengers to molestation while others experience sexual assault.

Polskieradio24.pl interviewed taxi drivers about the industry’s situation and discovered there are a number of dangerous conditions in place. After many Ukrainian citizens, including taxi drivers, left to fight in Ukraine, immigrants from the Caucasus took their place in Poland, leading to escalated problems, says one Polish taxi driver.

According to him, in the past, unlicensed Bolt and Uber drivers avoided official taxi stops on the streets, but now Polish taxi drivers do not want to confront these drivers, as it results in immediate aggressive reactions, making it impossible to argue or explain their wrongdoing. They resort to violence to solve problems, as revealed by the taxi driver.

The Road Transport Inspection, Police, and Border Guard inspect popular ride-hailing service areas in large cities. This led to the detention of five foreigners, including former Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Kazakh citizens. In autumn 2022, Border Guard officers in Warsaw verified the legal status of foreigners providing services through a mobile app. Four men were detained for illegally being in Poland and using forged documents. They were subsequently expelled from the country.

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