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Daghestani Police Free Belarusian From Slave Labor

  • RFE/RL

Dzmitry Kavalenka said he had been held against his will and forced to work for nearly two years at a Caucasus farm.

Dzmitry Kavalenka said he had been held against his will and forced to work for nearly two years at a Caucasus farm.

Police investigating reports of illegal drug cultivation at a Daghestani farm have freed a Belarusian man who had been kidnapped and ended up toiling there as a slave laborer.

The police announced on May 13 that they did not uncover a drug operation at the farm near the Babayurt district village of Shavan, but they did discover Dzmitry Kavalenka.

The 28-year-old said he had been held against his will and forced to work for nearly two years at the farm, located 15 kilometers from the nearest residential area.

Police did not identify Kavalenka's captors but said the Belarusian national had been kidnapped in Moscow while searching for work. According to police, Kavalenka met a man in the Russian capital who offered him a job in Makhachkala, capital of the Russian republic of Daghestan.

Kavalenka turned down the offer but the man persisted and took him to a cafe, police said. Kavalenka said he ate some soup at the cafe and the next thing he remembers is waking up 10 hours later on a Makhachkala-bound bus.

Police say his captors refused to let Kavalenka leave the bus and he was taken to a mountainous area to break rocks in a quarry.

Kavalenka managed to escape but ended up being forced to work at the farm where he was discovered by police.

Daghestani authorities have contacted Kavalenka's family and he is currently staying in Makhachkala.

Low wages and few job opportunities have forced thousands of Belarus citizens to leave their country to settle in Russia, where they have right to work and permanent residency.

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