On September 17, 2011 the information website “Caucasian knot” reported that there might be facts of slavery at farms in the Semikarakorsky district of the Rostov region. According to the legal expert of the Anti-discrimination centre Memorial, Anna Udyarova, the information comes from a phone call to the organisation in Moscow. Human rights activists sent a request to the prosecutor’s office of the Rostov region and were promised to receive the results of the investigation on September 19.
Anna Udyarova told the journalist of the Caucasian knot, that Mukhamadzhon called the organisation in Moscow and said that an agricultural organisation in the Semikarakorsky district of the Rostov region holds around 150 citizens of Tajikistan for field works.
“Zukhra Yusupova promised them to receive work in Russia with 15,000 roubles wages monthly, board and lodging were supposed to be provided by the employer. Mukhamadzhon arrived at the farm on August 21, others came there even earlier. All workers collect the harvest. All of them live in barracks and receive poor food. Their passports were taken away. They are asked to pay money to get them back”, Udyarova said.
Mukhamadzhon told the journalist of the Caucasian knot that he and his co-workers live in a dormitory for free. “We are fed, but I worked for a month already, but there are no wages and nobody says anything. Other citizens of Tajikistan, around 150 people in total, work for longer time, some of them already a year. They received around 20,000 roubles for the year. Nobody is paid anymore, and passports are not given back”, he said.
“When I asked Zukhra to give me the passport back, she said she would do it for 20,000 roubles. But I have no money. I do knot know who our employer is. We see only Zukhra. We did not complain to the law-enforcement agencies. I only called Moscow, asked for help”, Mukhamadzhon said.
Anna Udyarova is sure that it is an example of slavery prohibited by many international conventions and the Criminal code of the Russian Federation. “Unfortunately, such cases are not that rare. For example, a similar case of slavery was found out in the Krasnodar region. There not only passports, but also phones were taken away. Nobody could call and ask for help”, the legal expert underlined.
According to her, the ADC Memorial has sent a request to the regional prosecutor’s office and state labour inspection.
“We received an answer from the prosecutor’s office that the information will be checked by the district prosecutor’s office. The results will be sent on September 19”, Udyarova said.
The state labour inspection wrote that this question is not within their competence as there were no signed work contracts between the citizens of Tajikistan and their employers.
“Such answers are not enough. We asked the human rights activists working in southern Russia to control the case, we will also try to contact Tajik authorities and human rights activists there if our law-enforcement agencies do not investigate the case”, Anna Udyarova promised.
The Caucasian knot has not received yet any comments on the investigation by the representatives of the Rostov prosecutor’s office.
In 2008 a shelter for victims of slavery was opened in the Rostov region within the EU project “Fighting human trafficking in the Russian Federation”. It worked only for half a year as its organisers did not manage to organise information cooperation with regional law-enforcement agencies.
Based on the article http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/192668/