human trafficking in russia stories

At the same time, almost 31 percent of men and 35 percent of women recognized that the trafficked my have been duped by criminal gangs. Women’s groups and non-governmental organizations were also active. In fact, over the years, Russia has been diplomatically praised for making some efforts, but regularly criticized for not setting up shelters or adequate psychological counseling services for returnees from trafficking situations, for not making enough convictions, and for not having a comprehensive strategy in place or formal national procedures. Russia has since withdrawn giving federal statistics involving human trafficking to the US State Department, however various NGO's and other organizations are still cooperating with foreign agencies. Exploitation is driven Exploitation is driven by poverty, uneven development, official corruption, gender discrimination, harmful traditional and cultural practices, civil With the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Russian Embassy, Irina was safely repatriated. In fact, in the Gorbachev era in the 1980s, some women chose to prostitute themselves as a part-time second job in order to earn money to feed their children or to buy warm winter boots. There are deep-seated historical reasons why Russian leaders wish to be respected and do not like being told how to run their domestic system by outsiders. While human trafficking and slavery have always been an issue in most areas of the globe, human trafficking in Russia became exacerbated with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Article contributed by Ms. Maria Melnikova, Join our community of more than 2,500 contributors to publish your perspective, share your narrative and shape the global discourse. Labor trafficking stories like Ergashev’s, unfortunately, are all too common in Central Asia — Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The offer of US$ 500 for her help in bringing back merchandise to sell in the Russian Federation seemed lucrative. Employment and investment patterns changed and along came new opportunities for the exploitation of those in need. The collapse of state planning and the start of what became known as “wild capitalism”(. ) There have been cases of officials in children’s homes selling Russian children. He had taken Jane’s four-month-old baby and used the threat of abandoning the child in the street to control her. Men and women are trafficked within Russia and from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Moldova to Russia for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, including work in the construction All Rights Reserved. What has the Russian political leadership done to tackle the problem of human trafficking? The "madam" was with them and claimed that Irina had stolen her money. It has been known for Russian politicians to dig their heels in and not do what the US has suggested since it is deemed to be “interference” in internal affairs. Moreover, they may be ashamed to speak out at all. Other estimates, however, are lower. These cookies essential for the website to function. US Immigration Reform: A Mirage on the Horizon? Their words are testament to their incredible resilience and point toward the urgency for action to prosecute perpetrators and support survivors along their journeys to restored dignity, health and hope. Their new host would ask for their passports to register them locally – something quite normal for Russians as visitors to Russia have to do this – then take them to a brothel and inform them of the nature of their new job, keeping the confiscated passports. (Those polled could tick more than one possible answer.) But the numbers are relatively low given the scale of the problem. The US report said Russia … One regularly cited statistic from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was that between 1992 and 2002, an estimated 500,000 women and girls were trafficked from the former Soviet Union, mostly from Russia. Fair Observer does not use personal data collected from its website for advertising purposes or to market to you. The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, stretching from Europe to the Pacific, and is a massive landmass for the origin, transit and destination of women, men and children who are trafficked into forced labor. Russian women and children are reportedly victims of sex trafficking in Russia and abroad, including in Northeast Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Africa, the United States, and the Middle East. The hidden nature of trafficking makes estimates hazardous and unreliable. In the 1990s, the spotlight fell on thousands of women and minors trafficked out of Russia into prostitution, particularly to  Europe, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia, China and North America. Sex trafficking occurs in brothels, hotels, and saunas, among other locations. The Russian Code here defined human trafficking as: “The buying-selling of a person or other actions committed for the purpose of such person’s exploitation in the form of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of such a person.” Article 127.2 against slavery was later added. Human Trafficking Law: Russia only has one law that criminalizes human trafficking. Why do thousands of citizens who are looking for work opportunities, higher wages and a better future that they cannot find at home end up caught in forced labor, not easily able to escape? Evidence suggests, however, that not all cases of labor trafficking result in charges. Out of all these cases, only 38 traffickers received convictions as of 2013. Psychological counseling is badly needed and not always available. In 2013, the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report downgraded Russia from its Tier-2 “Watch List” to its lowest classification of Tier-3. In 2012, available data shows 29 convictions for human trafficking and five for using slave labor. This cookie consists of the word “yes” to enable us to remember your acceptance of the site cookie notification, and prevents it from displaying to you in future. Irina's mother was suspicious but was quickly assured that her daughter was in good hands. In the end, 26 individuals were sent to prison and seven given suspended sentences. Catching the traffickers, however, is not particularly easy. Meanwhile, all the other countries previously part of the Soviet Union have passed over 100 laws against human trafficking. The tight restrictions on mobility that had prevented many Soviet citizens from traveling abroad were now eased. She was now to work as a waitress in a local café for US$ 1,000 a month. Russia passed the law in 2003 under President Vladimir Putin but it does nothing other than label human trafficking illegal. Renat also warned Irina's mother that the travel arrangements had cost him a lot of money, and if her daughter cancelled the trip, she would owe him US$ 1,000. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com Abstract Since the collapse of Homeless children are exploited in sex trafficking. The collapse of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the final disintegration of the USSR in 1991 had serious consequences. Human trafficking: Irina's story. Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. They are forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude to Pressure also came from the United States and Germany. As soon as Irina entered the airport, she was stopped by the police. Now the business is flourishing and women are trafficked into cities not only from the Russian countryside, but also from Central Asia, Europe, Northeast Asia and elsewhere. How does the wider Russian public view human trafficking into prostitution? The Duma did have a working group on human trafficking, which supported a new law and worked hard to promote it. Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes investigated by ICE. Upon arrival at her destination, Irina found out that she would not be a waitress, she would be a prostitute. So sometimes, what Russians may take to be “lectures,” can backfire. There, she found out that her name had remained in the Interpol "missing persons" files for months. Learn more about how we use cookies or edit your cookie preferences. Women are also trafficked into the sex industry inside Russia. In this context, serious non-governmental organizations and women’s groups have been energetically working hard to combat all forms of human trafficking and, where possible, they collaborate with local city governments and the police. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. Effectively trapped in debt bondage and slavery, thousands of Russian women found themselves servicing up to 30 men a night. The Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow reacted strongly to the recent TIP Report. Human Trafficking in Russia and Other Post-Soviet States Yuliya V. Tverdova Published online: 11 December 2010 # The Author(s) 2010. These cookies track our website’s performance and also help us to continuously improve the experience we provide to you. The reasons in the Russian case are several and historical context is key. In December 2003, President Vladimir Putin did finally speak out in favor of making human trafficking illegal. Register for $9.99 per month and become a member today. Carlos also received assistance from an immigration attorney through The Dragonfly Home. News from the Russian Federation of Renat's arrest following a petition by Irina's mother brought added threats and abuse. What is the situation today, 13 years on from the wild 1990s when human trafficking was first exposed and discussed in several Russian daily newspapers? Employment and investment patterns changed and along came new opportunities for the exploitation of those in need. Her case was investigated by the police and is being heard in court. All the latest news about Human trafficking from the BBC Four people have been charged with human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation after a … It is organizations like Miramed, which formed the Angel Coalition as an umbrella of dozens of non-governmental organizations and women’s groups across Russia and Central Asia, that helped returnees in the 1990s and early 2000s. But Irina did not give up trying to escape. Russia has criminalised human trafficking in article 127.1 of the criminal code. The USSR had always had a “second economy” or “shadow economy” that greased the wheels of the official one, and actors in this included criminal elements, some enjoying the label of “thieves in law” (vory v zakone). In a survey conducted in June 2007, in which 1,600 citizens across 45 regions were polled, just over 43 percent of male respondents and 38 percent of females blamed the women and girls themselves for ending up in the sex trade. ILO reports that labor trafficking is the most predominant form of trafficking in Russia. Nonetheless, 29 percent of respondents thought education programs in schools and communities were vital in trying to solve the problem; 19 percent believed that the media were useful in spreading information through newspaper articles and television programs; 32 percent advocated more convictions; 31 percent saw tighter border controls as important; and 26 percent argued for a serious attack on corruption. In the 2000s, awareness has grown of the men who are trafficked or who simply migrate out of Central Asia, particularly from the states of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan into Russia, and who find themselves in slave labor in construction work, fisheries, fieldwork or shops. On World Day against Trafficking in Persons, three women survivors tell us their stories. The 2013 TIP Report talks of Russia’s “minimal progress in efforts to protect and assist trafficking victims”, its “limited efforts to prevent trafficking,” and its lack of effort to “reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.”. In some instances, the women are thrown in jail as illegal immigrants rather than helped. Russia’s 2016 Statistics: In 2016, the Global Slavery Index reported that there were more than one million human trafficking victims in Russia. Of course, these criminals are sometimes caught, arrested, tried and convicted. But even women over 50 have been trafficked. She was resold to another hotel owner and saddled with a new debt of US$ 10,000 to compensate for her misbehaviour. In 2014, the country was downgraded to Tier 3, with the fishing industry being cited as one of the major human trafficking fields. He was provided safe shelter at a hotel until further accommodations were secured. Yet bilateral discussions about it with other states do take place, conferences have been convened, and the advocacy of moving more towards Eurasian regional economic union may in the long run push human trafficking higher up agendas. Russia and China react angrily after the US downgrades them to its lowest category in a report on efforts to fight human trafficking. Her passport was taken away, and she was threatened if she refused to obey or tried to run away. Human Trafficking videos and latest news articles; GlobalNews.ca your source for the latest news on Human Trafficking . In the meantime, Irina's new friends had "improved" her travel agenda. Image: Copyright © Shutterstock. Given the scale of human trafficking in and out of Russia, and not only into prostitution but into a range of jobs, the US State Department has criticized Moscow for not making enough convictions of traffickers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, mafia gangs made huge profits. This means that, in the eyes of the State Department, Russia is not sufficiently meeting anti-trafficking standards. In 2013, 28 people were convicted under Article 127.1, where 23 given sentences ranging from between 2 and 11 years' imprisonment. Newspaper advertisements and Russian job agencies in the 1990s invited women to become waitresses, dancers, nannies, nurses, office workers or escorts abroad for attractive salaries. Those who had served time in Soviet prisons had their own networks, useful for collaborative crime and for running the underworld. They may have been accompanied en route and then handed over upon arrival to someone else. Thirty-seven percent of both genders acknowledged that the women were looking for work due to a lack of jobs, but 35 percent of males and 31 percent of females considered the trafficked “in the main to be prostitutes, hoping to earn more in other countries.” A high majority of respondents had low hopes of political institutions being able to solve the problem; a pessimistic 23 percent overall felt that “no-one” could be effective in tackling human trafficking and 22 percent just did not know who could. If they make it back to Russia, many women are anxious about what the local community may think of them and do not wish to suffer rejection from their own families. The worst cases were given narcotics and alcohol to help them cope with their burden, the cost of which was added to their debt. Pressure also came from the United States and Germany. The government identified 20 trafficking victims in 2017. Join our network of more than 2,000 contributors to publish your perspective, share your story and shape the global conversation. The flow of women out of Russia into prostitution has not stopped, although the numbers may be lower. In the 1990s Russian social scientists such as Elena Tiuriukanova and Natalia Khodyreva attempted to expose the problem, educate the public and put pressure on the parliament, the State Duma, to pass anti-trafficking legislation. Yet bilateral discussions about it with other states do take place, conferences have been convened, and the advocacy of moving more towards Eurasian regional economic union may in the long run push human trafficking higher up agendas. Fair Observer uses these aggregate statistics from website visits to help improve the content of the website and to provide regular reports to our current and future donors and funding organizations. Prostitution grew over the decades in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, despite denials by the Soviet state that it existed under socialism. project coordinator, International Organization for Migration. Nonetheless, various figures have been suggested. Unwilling behavior from the women often resulted in threats of harm to their relatives back home, including their children, if they had any. Women’s groups and non-governmental organizations were also active. While the use of slave labour is criminalised under article 127.2 and article 127.1 mentions slave labour as a type of exploitation as part of the crime of human trafficking, the act of slavery itself is not distinctly criminalised.58 Articles 240 and 241 address recruitment into sex work and pimping.59 In relation to the alleged exploitation of migrant workers from North Korea on the construction site for the St Petersburg stadium for the 2018 S… (Those polled could tick more than one possible answer.) Eventually Carlos was recognized as a human trafficking victim/survivor and was referred to The Dragonfly Home. The recent disruption of a Washington, D.C.-area trafficking ring shows the FBI's commitment to stopping human traffickers—during National Slavery and Human Trafficking … Initially, some politicians denied that human trafficking even existed, or flippantly remarked that the women were just prostitutes anyway so action was not needed. Furthermore, the international political economy of sex and male demand for prostitutes gave criminal gangs and small operators huge possibilities for their own enrichment. Thirty-seven percent of both genders acknowledged that the women were looking for work due to a lack of jobs, but 35 percent of males and 31 percent of females considered the trafficked “in the main to be prostitutes, hoping to earn more in other countries.” A high majority of respondents had low hopes of political institutions being able to solve the problem; a pessimistic 23 percent overall felt that “no-one” could be effective in tackling human trafficking and 22 percent just did not know who could. Different parts of the Russian political and administrative system and law enforcement do have actors attempting to further anti-trafficking goals. The Fair Observer website uses digital cookies so it can collect statistics on how many visitors come to the site, what content is viewed and for how long, and the general location of the computer network of the visitor. Become a Fair Observer and help us make sense of the world. 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