Human trafficking and modern slavery do not make front page headlines anymore. To bring the subject of slavery to the public eye, one has to find a story where a slave-owner ruthlessly exploits a large number of slaves. If there is only one or two of such workers, the story will soon be forgotten. However, one may find themselves enslaved when looking for a job or going shopping late at night.
The police of the Russian city of Karaganda have recently arrested two men who kept a slave, a 36-year-old man. The slave managed to escape from his masters. He came to the nearest police station because he was afraid lest his owners should catch him and make him live in a hut and work again. The police had the man shadowed to find the criminals. Soon the slave-owners caught their slave at a bus stop.
The policemen visited the people who kept the man in a suburb. They found the slave with his neck chained and tightened with bolts and wires. The prisoner was bound to a metal tube by the other end of the chain.
If the man refused to work, the slave-owners beat him. The slave was obliged to saw and chop wood to make fire for kebabs in summer cafes.
The two criminals were arrested.
The police of Sakhalin, in Russia’s Far East, also arrested two slave-owners. They will go on trial for using slave labor. Li Chan Hen, 47, from Uglezavodsk, and N. Sirich, 39, from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk were arrested in July of 2007.
The men managed a farm in a village of Sakhalin, and owned a shop in the town of Uglezavodsk. They had a lot of work to do every day, so entrepreneurs realized that they needed new workers. To save money they decided to use slaves. They found three homeless people and promised them free lodging and a good salary.
The farmers took away their documents, beat them and threatened to kill them. They could conceal their slaves because the farm was located quite far from the village.
The slaves were living in a barn. Their living conditions were much like those of animals: no conveniences, terrible sanitary conditions, scanty nutrition and no medical help. The people worked from early morning till late night without days off.
The slave-owners were arrested only in July of 2007 (the slaves had been working for them since July of 2004).
A 60-year-old man became a slave in Russia’s Volgograd region. He was hired to graze horses. He could have avoided the fate of a slave, if seven horses had not died during his work. The employer made the man work off the cost of the horses. The pensioner resisted since he did not want to be regarded as free labor force. As a result, the pensioner became a slave for two years.
The slave-owner was arrested. A criminal case was field according to Article127.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Illegal Deprivation of Liberty). Now the slave-owner may be sentenced to ten years in prison.
A 75-year-old woman from a town of Lainate in the north of Italy (not far from Milan) became a slave-owner. A Romanian woman came to her to get a job of a nurse. Being a widow, the woman had to earn her living by herself. The mistress found a room for her employee in the basement of the house. The woman was allowed to take a hot shower once a month.
There were surveillance cameras installed in the house to watch the Romanian. The slave was set free when the police found out what was happening in the elderly woman’s house.
It does not go about sexual slavery, which is a completely different story. It goes about people who are led to believe that they have a right to use the labor of another person – not as a hired employee, but as a slave who works for nothing and can endure brutal attitude and any living conditions. Do people become slave-owners to save money?
Practically all slave-owners get arrested by chance.
Homeless people coming to big cities from their small towns to earn money are the first to become slaves. They need money to survive and will agree to any job with any labor conditions. One may say that they voluntarily become slaves. However, any person may find themselves in this situation.