tv Doc Film - Abducted and Sold - Forced Workers in Russia Deutsche Welle January 16, 2018 10:15am-11:00am CET
russia is undergoing change at a phenomenal pace the economy has boomed over the last two decades and a new affluent class arose together with the new cathedrals of glass and steel but down on the ground in the shadow of that wealth the shadow economy has also been flourishing and with it exploitation and modern slavery on a massive scale now stuff of the worst of them i was scared they'd kill me if i ran away. you know i had freedom hope to pay the victims are completed other people's mercy to serve pleasure to the good a mountain disappointing situation no wrongs. but although the politicians are doing little to address the problem we meet the people who are taking action. to horrible thing is that in russia people are being enslaved by fellow russians you don't find that anywhere else in europe.
this is one of many illegal brickyard in the darkness down region in the south of the russian federation not all the workers are here voluntarily many were abducted to toil away in the punishing conditions and without getting paid the money not be any camps fences and guns but these people are slaves as we learn here modern day slavery doesn't necessarily involve chains and whips. this is alexei he works for an engineer and that frees forced labor as. alexa knows this young man is a slave he's been here since june alexa demands that the foreman pays him wages to which he responds maybe but only five something in the till weeks aleksey asks what
he scared of an office to take him and others away from here but the young man is reluctant to get involved he was brought here against his will and is clearly scared. church people think if someone is not locked up or in change then they're not a slave even if they have to work harder to get out the man has suffered physical abuse as he now reveals to his family. it's unbelievable what goes on there. if. they punch me in the face for nothing. that's the. most slaves who are put to work like this men from rural areas with low levels of education. who are willing to do very menial work at all that badly paid work without a contract. which. these men alike was looking for help. when
we are asked whether he will come with i make say or stay he thinks he'll come and . the others agree otherwise you'll dine here alexei tells them to pack their bags. the first step is to take the bus to moscow from dad their old travel back to their respective homes but many of these stories of exploitation happened to begin in moscow itself sasha's night mass started on komsomolskaya square a busy hub home to three railway stations rural migrants gather on the square looking for work zappa was one of them. and you see that they all have bags. and that's how he can spot the people who on from here that. traffickers approach the man with promises of a good jump off the books anyone wanting to work in moscow officially has to be
registered in the city migrants from the former soviet republics but even rural russians don't stand a chance. this issue comes from a community just three hundred kilometers from moscow but without registration papers he wasn't allowed to work in the capital he was the perfect victim for a traffic and no money no education young and america sasha drank a beer with a stranger then everything went down and the next thing he knew he was in an illegal brickyard he'd been drugged and kidnapped. sasha had been enslaved like an estimated one million other people in the russian federation. yes that's it i was floored by was scared they'd kill me if i ran away when i arrived in the brick yard i realized there was no point trying to escape.
there were mountains all around us your knowledge of the area you can forget about escape was just lash me as a chuckle up to display zakia doesn't have a fixed address he sleeps at friends' homes and is borderline homeless man like him are of such ideal targets for those wanting to exploit them they work without contracts and believe the promises that they'll be paid a decent wage those who realize they'll never get any money try to get away and you'll be good as they escape but just end up in a different brick yard even though cuz then little of the world i'm on the edge of the bosses old know each other. they simply switch back at skate workers but almost that i don't use flights here. they bought them after old lady with the money that
they call travel costs can you tell us about it and i don't let us hold up. the twenty five year old felt powerless by all the others who shared his fate he decided to stay where he was. and they were and i was probably hoping for a better way out that someone would help me get away i waited for a very long time maybe two months old. and i really missed so the last. show was able to get in touch with the. tenor tiva on a borrowed phone the activists working for alternative or freed him with the help of the local police. must go headquarters are located in the apartment of alexei's parents. in his childhood bedroom. the thirty one year old has devoted his life to political activism which he sees as he.
dug a stand has received a call for help from a number of slave labor of. the cooler says he's working on a family alexei asks if he knows his location. he's told by the mom on the phone the two of them alexei wants him to take photos and send them to him so he can post them on the social media platforms to collect donations for their travel costs. alexei has voltaire and other revolutionary role models on the wall standing for freedom of thought alexei's himself dependent on others is sixty five year old pediatrician mother supports him financially. but isn't classically i'm basically a positive person who says he should help others i just worry about him because he
doesn't have a wife or children he has nothing no income fortunately i have a pension and i'm still working to. it rationally i would and i am still rocking at sixty five that is how i managed to care for myself and support him a bit too when in love with your family you know what else could i do on top of this you're not paying taxes or anything towards your pension i don't intend to. you and your pension you don't think about your future they'll steal it from me anyway rubbish moscow wasn't built in a day either my. market value or out of democracy in america and europe also took time. out of a very. average to who's going to steal your pension where arguing again because you don't think about your future. what orgon.
well never green he says i've been shaped by the soviet era he's a democrat as an opposition mentality. and. she's worried her son is now thirty one but in term of capitalist russia he's going to have a tough time without money alexei leaves moscow and heads for douglas turn the russian republic on the caspian sea it's one of the areas he visits most frequently in the fight against exploitation. with a population of just three million and an unemployment rate of more than fifteen percent douglas down has one of the smallest and weakest economies in the russian federation. on paper the republic is independent as regards domestic policy but economically it's completely aligned to russia must go guarantees military
security and in return and joyce access to the oil reserves here. alexei and design alternative is representative in dargah stand out looking for slaves in a brick yard some of the victims have been here for years they fear reprisals from their bosses by years conditioned to go huge the victims tell us we're too scared to talk. sometimes they beat us or lock us up. with but when you approach us it's ok. for me to go do it. with become psychologists we can talk to people like them now everything starts with a small step. then we agree an initial meeting if they've been in a factory for a long time they went immediately trust us streets are just that james's leadership the key is to which we have to build up trust first. before we can get them out of
that question very quickly they're going to. be endless fields of bricks give an idea of just how many people have to work here often against their will. the kilns are all fired with gas illegally diverted siphoned off from the oil industry i'm filtered the place stinks of cell phone. he was one of them i can hardly breathe because of the smoke and you know as you know the brick yards as a kid on the lake say can move about freely here the factories don't have extra guards the owners tend to be high ranking local officials they're the law as a result of foreman aren't afraid of any consequences if i dispose method bodies of those. zakir cautiously approaches to workers lest. the muzzle kemi come in and show you some pictures with us whether we want to know
if you've seen the people on them before this post was a cold wars and you were. right don't you that you don't. like you do you know any of these people we've had they work in breakouts to. shit no i don't know any of them there's a soldier had to duck. it's just many people are missing at this or couple more at the event just the tip of the iceberg talk leaders. would like hear. my name is buzz much i want to tell you something take a more thorough look around it but not through the front door like this you understand a little more in conspicuously question some of the people without getting seen they'll throw some light on all of this and there are four or five hundred yards in the area maybe one of the people you're looking for is that good but i haven't told
everyone. now for that. many workers of former prisoners others have lost their old lives some of them have been here for almost twenty years. don't all of the muslims but those who are often stay here and don't try to escape. what does a lot more like to see which one we can't explain it how can you live here very teen years and not trying to escape they're told to go there and they go which. they told sit. and they sit down and you will see did. this apparent lack of will power seems to be the result of years of oppression zakia and daleks a say it's a reflection of the general mindset in society those who are right at the bottom
have only themselves to blame. today the man from alternative a didn't have any luck not here. back in moscow two thousand kilometers from the brickyard a new talib block is rising on the skyline story by storing. most of the workers on these construction sides are a league. immigrants the new underclass in these mega city the people tend to come from the former soviet republics. without work permits or registration papers they quickly full prey to exploitation. kuhlmann beg and his granddaughters are among the estimated one point five million illegal migrants in moscow alone. will cut. the i feel
like a second class human being with love and sound treated at least in my version. it doesn't matter how good your qualifications are you won't find a good job. a good just cellist and it's not. the sixty year old is from kyrgyzstan near the chinese border it used to be part of the soviet union today it's an independent country which makes it a foreign country for comin back a confusing notion for two years ago he studied in moscow he also served in the soviet red army a year ago he came back here to help his daughter with her children he accepted a job as a cleaner he spent half a year cleaning ten hours a day for good money so he thought. why or that is what i want or it's rare for people my age to find employment rights and it felt good to know that
i had a job and that i'd be paid the next day and years and that's how it wasn't fast. or all. and that's when they paid me monthly. but then it started to take longer and longer to get my money because then i continued working because i thought i'd be more likely to get my money that way. then by quitting what is and i want to know what is. going on there the i don't want to. according to official statistics moskos unemployment rate is a mere one percent which sounds appealing for job seekers but comin back is far from an isolated case even twenty five years after the collapse of the u.s.s.r. for the former soviet citizens moscow is their city it doesn't feel like a foreign country to them. russian of course i didn't but
in the u.s.s.r. you just had one passport regardless of what a catholic group you belong to or the knowledge that she just knew everyone was the same one visitor these days you're always told. we only employ our own citizens. the governor sr said similar in kyrgyzstan's it's like that everywhere people don't like us you gotta go. more than twenty million people live in greater moscow the tough reality is tangible in order to regulate the labor market and migration an extra hurdle has been created for foreigners employers have to pay eight hundred euros in fees for every guest worker as a result migrants are now no longer officially employed illegal job market is flourishing and with the exploitation the migrants are vulnerable because they're desperate to earn money.
it's no secret that a single migrant working here in russia can take care of up to three families back home. i knew i had to do with my ph d. by the money that. they need every cent i knew that. that's how they end up as slaves they accept any job with or without a contract value the safety of you they don't care if it's off the books and you know it all those are pretty. goods many migrants in a great area few have the courage to demand their rights that would mean the precarious step of revealing the status as an illegal economic migrant. the cure his grandfather is a brave exception. not a bubba john move or is his attorney she specializes in labor law one day
a week she works pro bono for an organization that fights for migrants rights with the support of the un. like many is a victim of systematic exploitation. of that industry. employers don't start with holding wages right away they first want to win the trust of migrant workers which are nice in the two nights and up lot day but then it begins in the third or fourth months the migrant gets paid too little but at that point they don't realize what's happening they were paid initially after all that makes them uncertain and they don't look for a new job they just continue working and listening to their employers lies and promises lads what we miss that they replace their workers every month they don't pay them and they keep the money for themselves and work it out. what if
ten workers who were supposed to get fifty thousand roubles each on height you got enough for a cost by the end of the year you're sitting on a lot of money at what's called. the sixty year old former administrator was unwilling to accept the injustice he has suffered for being a migrant he's filed a lawsuit against his former employer with the help of his attorney whose daughter has also come to support him. in the court confronted with the cuban people and security personnel for some a microcosm of the modern russia. conduct of the that was you outside the court and what has become of us you count sink any lower you know. anyone wanting to bring their case of labor exploitation to court has to do so within three months
both of the victims don't know this. just like us if someone doesn't find out about this right away via our organization or doesn't have money to consult a lawyer then that period simply expires. on cheshire soap opera's god that's awful this time limitation serves only to protect employers coming back is determined to demand his outstanding wages forty eight thousand rubles equivalent to seven hundred eighty euros the second major hurdle for claimants is the lack of precision in the laws regarding labor exploitation and slavery it's just their own laws that will likely be improved in the future. quickly that would do no option but it's difficult at the moment to apply the relevant sections as they would have wanted in the stands i have to prove in court that someone was actually employed. being
a fox the national. you put your name on this list every time you clean the swimming pool. yes i signed every time. i wanted to and i need to have this letter notarized. company. with my boss already signed here. and this. i had to show it when i entered the building. here's. what we can plan. according to the testimony the general director did the cleaning himself. with then had to leave the room but the judge agreed to hear the case. over in red square tourists or my other famous
buildings is the grandiose setting for selfies of the soviet union doesn't just have a visual legacy there is still various loopholes in the legal system due to the huge and rapid changes in russia in the early one nine hundred ninety s. . why is it so hard to deal with exploitation and slavery in russia today. the leading prosecutor an expert in labor law explains. that yes section one hundred twenty seven subsection two refers to the use of slave labor but it doesn't define slave labor route were said it gave you know could of is a research of the general prosecutor's academy he's been working for years on improving legislation dealing with exploitation and slavery criminal employers have little to fear in the way of repercussions the protected by the vagueness. but i'm
sure new boy led units is all the cubicle it's got today when you get. every slave owner can just claim his slaves a free they choose not to leave the factory. in the premier why do i say that in belarus they similarly have a section one night one that refers to the use of slave labor but it goes further the use of slave labor and other forms of exploitation you need for my exploit. in the ford explorer that if we had that formulation in russia lawyers would have an effective tool for taking action should go but it was bush darn it you lot you probably give us. the rooms in the academy a highly reminiscent of the soviet era. the veteran legal expert doesn't think the primary reason behind the exploitation is a legal one he's as it's down to a fundamental problem of society.
there is a kind of psychological provocation at work here you see pictures of happy rich people all over the television and internet they're sitting on their yachts drinking champagne. that image appeals to us young makes us envious. c.-a not a minute to do but yet look at all wants to have an affluent and comfortable lifestyle. but in practice most of us constitute that by legal means to live the options for you it was more that's why many people look for other options criminal options. human trafficking is a big part of that criminality even. he. also told us that expectations have. be realistic that there will forces in the
country working against reforms that's why changes to the law he said would take a long time. and this is another side to douglas term green and for thailand geographically and topographically a world away from the brick yards but this is also where we find the second major form of slavery in the federation farming. alexei from the anti slavery organization atena tiva has tried down a man fools to work as a herdsman his relatives in rural russia contacted the activist after he went missing alexei now wants to free the man and his wife. and i like say no some slight drama and nikolai's door suddenly on answers he tells
her he has come to take her and her husband over nikolai's apparently outside bring the sheep into the shed. she and her husband the been trapped an illegal working conditions for a long time before this we worked for the same boss in a brick yard we were told then to that we were allowed to leave we've been here for eight months. when. i paid wages or i was just working for food. the neighbor remained silent. finally nikolai himself appears. the thirty eight year old looks confused he doesn't seem to
know what to make of his impending liberation. the couple don't own much the cheese was their only source of income they'd been selling it to the local market they want to take these ones with them alexei didn't know nikolai had a wife until you don't hear anything in their life and if you. and he didn't know about the daughter either the prospects for leaving looking good the owners the being alerted. about alexei and nikolai i see them approaching because i believed it was the neighbor who raised the alone such exceptional. cesure what especially. these liberation mission was tend not to be dangerous when we free someone the n.
is don't get violent now pretend nobody had forced the victim to be there they'll say the victims are here voluntarily and are just making the whole thing out always the sapa so you want it all stopped at all i thought ok first let's get the three of them and all their belongings into our car and then they'll drive off will follow them. the owner he's clearly disgruntled other he asks us for our cruise papers and wants to know why we're here. told us. alexei says they were notified by new crys relatives who are looking for him. there is all. the boss starts quizzing nicolai which relative is looking for you what did you say someone was looking for a crime says he'd tell his boss he had to go home. then tempest landed you think that's. the man start arguing with alexei he
wants to get the boss to handle this flat lamas papers he refuses and in turn wants to see identification from alexei who likewise refuses. they tell the activists to leave us. alexei says he'll do so because for grammar and nikolai he also threatens to call the police resistance so who doesn't use a lot of people. then things get physical. obvious is almost going to. get off my property the boss shouts. vehicle didn't get popcorn of political action by me movie shit you don't understand so much the clear that's obvious. getting violent and then facing criminal charges makes no sense not for keeping someone who only cost fifteen thousand rubles it makes much more sense for the n a to simply find
a new work and. that means two hundred forty euros for a new slave. yet watching these men turn on nikolai again when they want to know what he's been up to. lead them then. nobody's keeping you here and the boss says. that alexei make sure svetlana and the baby get to leave as well the man wants alexei to leave right away but alexei tells him he's waiting for the mother and child. but the both suspect loughner won't be leaving like he wants to hear that from her personally. the boss replies i'll rip your head off they're told to leave a note come back with the police still. just go. with nick when i gets into the car out to view i'm noticed by the camera he's on a intervenes. so i think up he tells him to get out right away. but.
did. the men drag him and alexei out of the car and then a kind of camera crew as well it. you know the good. question and threats get worse we'll shoot you like a bunch of dogs. alexy calls for the police to come he explains that three men are threatening them and have become violent. but it's an uphill battle. slave owners know that they cannot be proven guilty. it's their way and against the victims that's why none of them have to fear punishment. that i sit. for an hour later the police arrived the officers try to calmly determine everyone's details what's happening here seems
to be routine for them the officers on screen equalize a series of questions about his identity he's one of the identity and who else is inside. oh dear lord officer gets angry with the boss his friend how could he not know how and why the family came here. he's local but even he would have known about this place he says the reason is obvious he says these people are on the fringes of society. yes i like a little like a snapshot of talked to a lot of slave owners they always try to convince me with one argument that if they weren't giving the slave any work then the slaves would lie around drunk on the ground like seattle or they're not capable of leading an independent life at all will get a holes i think that they might actually believe that it's possible since the ecological but it's more a case of trying to justify it to themselves morally. slavery
is an accepted gray area in russia. the police are aware of it while the owners have nothing to fear because the victims are too scared to sue. in the end the owners will pay another trafficker twenty thousand roubles for a new herdsman. say believes it's hard to change this mentality. our country has known slavery for a long time. my father comes from a village near ivanova. he can remember how gave the collective farm workers their passports back one day. at a factory just they then started to be able to move around freely. in this mindset of exploiting people isn't deeply rooted in russia or china causal topics but she avoided. people with hidden pasts like nikolai answer to lana easy victims
only know about nicholas is that he wants her to remain with the law but the two don't want to say how exactly they became enslaved his wife is resigned to their fate the minute they think we have to go home now it's enough. do you have relatives at home. i have a younger brother but i don't have any parents now we've got a new addition to the family couldn't. be sure that's just how it is. a bus would take the family back to russia a bus without a valid operating permit without a tax registration the shadow economy comes full circle no papers required and no questions are asked we try to contact cement lama nikolai in the new lines
to no avail. former slaves prefer not to be reminded of the past says alex. this was the hardest of the three hundred fifty liberation missions he's done so far he's not very hopeful. and with a look at as long as illegal activities are more profitable than legal dealings as long as there's an endless supply of people from poorer regions willing to work as long as it's easier to enslave people than to employ them officially as long as there are these economic reasons this slavery will continue. on this basis it's hard to build a normal modern society among the little sheeple offset. capital of darkest on stock here or turn out he was local representative has received
a call that reminds him of his early days working for the organization. it was his very own wake up call to do something against exploitation and slavery. additionally responded when i was still working for a local paper i read on facebook that and was black man had been admitted to hospital in a very sick condition. we immediately went over. the man had been working musician up at the foot of the mountains here for to me is. what he fell seriously ill. when his owners realized after ten days that he was close to dying they loaded him onto a transporter like a sack of potatoes. like he did they then just dumped him at a gas station on the outskirts of town he was the good of the procurements when he was later found and taken to hospital which. was well supported on the show really
poignant so we contacted his relatives in israel moscow and samarkand but nobody wanted to come. they all said the same thing if we come will be enslaved to just like our relatives the kinds of billion nationals over this mern showed up in hospital without papers and with broken ribs. how long have you been in dhaka stan and these. two years i asked them to give me my money. but they refused to give me money already thing else. i lost money passport. but now i don't have one anymore what was your. question of the way you did you work in a brick yard yes. it was district point i don't know what it was hard going to be nice. they keep me i prefer to be dead.
what's the point of living. zakir will be able to help this man that same evening he collects donations on social media for the man whose journey home to russia. a husband and father lives in constant danger of being threatened on account of his work. law passed the law passed one. when it's really dangerous one time these guys came to warn me if i didn't stop freeing people they'd blow me and my family out and you make me names i don't believe it's been that way for five years but i'm still alive ones.
back at the court in moscow the verdict is due today in the case brought by coleman beck the kirghiz man who became a victim of exploitation. normally the case would have dragged on for a long time his lawyer tells us. but when the employer heard that a western t.v. crew wanted to film proceedings he quickly paid his debts he was willing to pay forty thousand roubles his lawyer has come to court to formally accept the ruling. we are not allowed to film the judge but are allowed to listen in as the verdict is announced. would want to exploitation and slavery mean for mainstream society is it really all business or our concern here is the culture question it doesn't matter whether it's an
alcoholic or a former president you should treat people with respect. those people also have rights deserving protection and their rights are the same fundamental rights as mine and still the case for the committee if we as a society were to say those people don't deserve their rights it would mean that the rights of every individual are at risk actually in other words these only when the rights of those at the very bottom of society is secured not everyone's rights protected the herschel dollars actuals the should stop the exploitation and modern slavery a growing around the world according to u.n. estimates twenty one million people are victims of forced labor russia is by no means the exception.
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