Human trafficking ring broken in the Zhytomyr region


Officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Anti-trafficking unit for the Zhytomyr region have uncovered a setup for selling people from the region into labour bondage in Poland where they worked as beggars.

According to public liaison officer for the MIA, Olha Nomerchuk, this case was unprecedented.  She reports that five women victims between the ages of 25 and 38 have been identified, who were taken to Poland in 2005 with their small children in order to engage in begging.

According to the Head of the Anti-trafficking unit Viktor Kurbatov it all began in June 2005 with the arrival in a Zhytomyr region village. of strangers who offered work abroad for a thousand dollars a month in payment for looking after elderly people.  They said that the women could take their children.

Travelling on tourist visas, a 23-year-old woman with a four-year-old son, and her 30-year-old neighbour with a five-year-old boy and three-year-old girl were taken by the recruiters to Poland. There they were met by other people who took their documents away and forced them to beg. Kurbatov explained that they had been able to return to Ukraine in 2007.

A criminal investigation has been initiated under Article 149 of the Criminal Code. The identity of one of the recruiters has been established, a 29-year-old Moldovan national. The investigators are putting together the circumstances of the crime. The police also have information that these same criminals are responsible for people from the region with obvious disabilities having been taken to the Russian Federation to be exploited as beggars.

According to information published last year by the International Organization for Migration, around 100 thousand people have become victims of human trafficking since 1991, this not including figures for 2007.

Based on material from

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