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Ukrainian Slave Laborers Found Onboard Russian Boat

6 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today said that Russian coastguards have freed 24 Ukrainian nationals who had been forced to work as slave laborers onboard a Russian fishing vessel.

An IOM statement says that the men, aged between 18 and 50, come from poor fishing communities on Ukraine's Black Sea coast.

They were found about two weeks ago, half-starved, suffering from sleep deprivation, and locked in the hold of a Russian boat poaching crab in the North Pacific.

The organization says its Kyiv office is currently providing them medical and psychological assistance.