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Central Asian Roma Seeking Seasonal Work In Kazakhstan

A Roma woman begs in Almaty.

A Roma woman begs in Almaty.

ALMATY -- Roma from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have begun their annual spring migration to the more affluent Kazakhstan for seasonal work, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

Central Asian Roma, known locally as Lulya, mostly flock to Almaty as the weather gets warmer. Lulya Roma gain seasonal agricultural jobs in southern Kazakhstan, but some also resort to begging in Almaty markets and visiting private homes and apartments to ask for food and old clothes.

One beggar told RFE/RL that despite the economic crisis, Kazakhstan remains a good place for the Lulya to come during the summer.

Another Rom from Tajikistan said that there is always a danger of being deported from Kazakhstan, which is why Lulya avoid the police by seeking work in Almaty's outskirts. She added that people in Kazakhstan live better and are more willing to give spare change and used clothes to Roma beggars than in their home countries.

RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reported on the migration on International Roma Day on April 8, but the Lulya Roma they spoke to said they were not aware of the official day.