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25.01.2007

16 Ukrainians were slaves in Russia

   

The Vinnytsa Regional Prosecutor’s Office has launched a criminal investigation against a Moldovan national suspected of human trafficking involving residents of the Vinnytsa region.

According to information issued by the public relations centre of the Vinnytsa region Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the 39 year old Moldovan is believed to have recruited 16 residents of the Kryzhopilsky and Trostyanetsky districts in May 2006 to carry out construction work in Russia. The suspect offered pay in Russia starting from 400 dollars (per month). The victims handed over their passports, following which they were illegally transported to a farm in the Kursk region (Russia) where there were forced to work on 90 hectares of sugar beet crops.  It would seem that the suspect had previously arranged this with the farm owner.

After the people from Vinnytsa had finished the work, the farmer paid the Moldovan 240 thousand roubles. However the suspect did not pay the recruited workers for their labour claiming that the farmer had not paid him. The Moldovan then forced the people to work more supposedly to compensate the expense of bringing them to Russia, their accommodation and board. Those who refused to work were beaten up by the Moldovan’s accomplices.

Some of the recruited workers managed to escape from August to October 2006.  The others worked for free more than 6 months in Russia and returned home only after their relatives approached the law enforcement agencies. The suspect was detained and criminal proceedings begun under Article 149 § 2 of the Criminal Code (human trafficking involving a group of people).

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