Saturday, August 27, 2016


Kazakh Women Describe Slavery Ordeal In Moscow

Bakiya Kasymova (left) and Leila Ashirova, both recently freed from captivity, talk to reporters in connection with a recent "slavery" scandal involving migrant workers in Moscow.
Bakiya Kasymova (left) and Leila Ashirova, both recently freed from captivity, talk to reporters in connection with a recent "slavery" scandal involving migrant workers in Moscow.

Related Articles

Manual For Migrants Raises Hackles In St. Petersburg

A new manual designed to help migrants from Central Asia has caused a storm in Russia's second city because of its apparent racist content.
By Tom Balmforth
MOSCOW -- Two Kazakh women have said they were lured into slavery in Moscow on the promise of a job and held in captivity in a supermarket for 10 years where they were beaten and forced to work. 
Leila Ashirova, 26, and Bakiya Kasymova said they were among 14 migrants from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, including three children, rescued from slavery by a pair of Russian civic activists in the capital on October 29. 

"I personally worked there 10 years and I never left the shop once. I tried a couple of times and they beat me," Kasymova said.
The alleged captives were freed by civic activists Oleg Melnikov and Danil Medvedev who went to the shop accompanied by several local Russian TV crews after they received a tip-off from Leila’s mother Tazhinar Ashirova. 
Emil Taubulatov, a lawyer for the Civic Action organization and the Memorial rights groups, said a police investigation is under way. Police brought the owners of the shop in for questioning this week, but they were subsequently released, according to the activists. 
The Kazakh women identified the owners of the store as married couple Saken Muzdybaev and Dzhan Sulu Istambekova. Activists alleged the couple’s relatives were also actively involved in the “scheme” and said dozens may still be being held in captivity in different buildings.
Police 'Blind Eye'

Taubulatov said he submitted appeals on November 2 to the Moscow police demanding multiple criminal investigations be launched into the owners of the supermarket for the use of slave labor and grave crimes that may even include murder.

Migrant Workers In Moscow Say They Were Held As Slavesi
|| 0:00:00
November 05, 2012
Several Central Asian migrant workers have reunited with their relatives after allegedly being held as slave laborers for 10 years. They escaped from the site of their imprisonment when journalists and activists, acting on a tip, stormed into a Moscow grocery store on October 30. Reuters video
(WATCH: The women are reunited with their families)

“Along with the use of slave labor, there are possible charges of abduction, unlawful detention, kidnapping of a child, and even possibly murder because two of these women a few years ago had their children taken away from them and nothing has been heard of them ever since," Taubulatov said.

"When the mothers asked what had happened to their children, they were told they had died."
Kasymova said she gave birth to a child in 2003, in the first year of her captivity. She said Dzhan Sulu Istambekova took the child from her, informed her that it had been sent to Kazakhstan to be looked after. She was subsequently informed the child had died. 
The women accused local district police officers of turning a blind eye to their incarceration. 
Leila Ashirova, who said she was forced to lift heavy goods in and out of the shop, told journalists that when "one of the girls escaped from the shop and asked for help from law enforcement officers, they pretended to help her."

"They said that they were taking her to the airport or the train station and that they would help. Then, half way there, they called the owner of the shop and said they had found one of 'yours' and asked what she was doing at the police station. They said, make sure it doesn't happen again. This happened many times," Ashirova said.
Ashirova and Kasymova described how 10 years ago they handed over their passports to the proprietors who said they needed to be officially registered by the authorities. They have not had identification documents since. 
Leila’s mother Tazhinar who attended the press conference appealed to the Kazakh Embassy for assistance, but was told to turn to the local police force. 

Tom Balmforth

Tom Balmforth covers Russia and other former Soviet republics.


This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: US
November 02, 2012 22:24
Muslims make good slaves, like Czechs and Poles... Seriously, no one forces Muslims to migrate to Russia to face "slavery". They could migrate to Pakistan or some other Muslim paradise. Why is that Muslims always want to move to a Christian country, to capitalize on its welfare?
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 03, 2012 10:35
You mean Russia is Christian Country ?

For "Christ" sake speak truth .

It is secular as its leaders call it , also demography points to multi-ethnic , multi-religious Russia.

And anyway Soviet Union is dead but people still feel Russia is Motherland for Soviet citizens (former and present).

"History of a country is shaped by its Geography"

Hundreds of year Russians tried to have influence in central Asia , east Europe , Naturally people have got culturally influenced.

Russia did not got independence from Soviet Nation it itself is Soviet Union but now without communist party and little reduced land mass still its biggest country in world.

Americans can call them self a Christian country but not RUSSIA.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
November 03, 2012 14:10
"Americans can call them self a Christian country but not RUSSIA. "

Christians would not support Muslim terrorists, like American government does. And look at who is in control of US government.. "christians" like Panetta, Bernanke? These "christians" look more like Arabs
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kudistan
November 03, 2012 14:12
The answer to your question is very simple ,Whacko ,Lubyanka Jacko-they went to Russia because its basically a slave society,where you can get away with anything.The russians killed their tsar who gave them freedom from serfdom,they were are and will always be slaves to their drunken stupidity as you and the Vienna genius so aptly demonstrate day after day on this spaces.Sorry to repeat the proverb again:`If you live like russians do,that will be the end of you!`Eugenio and Jack are the living proof.

by: Anonymous
November 03, 2012 10:41
Capitalism promotes exploitation , if every one has ok or good standard of living who will be wealthy then .

This phenomenon of keeping in captivity for commercial purpose itself is deep rooted in developed countries also ,this shows Moscow is in the same line.
Organized criminal raquets do this .

recently released "Cloud Atlas" exhibits plight of Women slaves in "Neo-Seoul", (timeline is in future).

by: rick from: Milan
November 03, 2012 22:42
this happens everywhere,
in Russia as in germany
in Italy as in France

these crimes are typically ethnic
are the same countrymen
who take advantage of their countrymen

Here in Italy we have every day
chronicle about Chinese who brought here illegal Chinese
and forced to work as slaves

or Romanian or Albanian women brought here by countrymen
and then enslaved to make prostitution .

All place is country
In Response

by: Dimitri
November 04, 2012 18:19
These women worked at the supermarket as slaves by day, and were raped at night, this went on for many years. When these women escaped their captives, the Russian police bring them back to their slave masters. Modern day slavery in Russia, enforced by corrupt police. If it wasn't for the human rights defenders who went in there with cameras, these women, and children would still be living under grotesque conditions. It's too bad Putin is killing, and exiling human rights activists.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 06, 2012 06:24
The Tsar officially abolished Slavery but "Noble" Class Russians were still practising it.

Russia is back on track of those old days just before Sovietsky- Soyuza came into existence.

Communists did not handle situation properly in last days 1991 and some " Noble-Peace-Laureate " and the Pope from Poland had a very profound impact on that " Noble-Peace-Laureate ".

This is the Russian (Moscowites) asked for and they have got one.

New Tsar Putin and new "Noble" Class is the one who controls political power and people who exploited turbulent times of 1991 and are in good terms with kremlin.

Capitalism is not for Slavic Souls it best for looters for e.g The Britons and their descendants in various parts of world.

In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
November 06, 2012 13:46
More schizoid loony left lunacies from a forever young 12 year old Young communist league retards.So,the russians have a soul???Ha,bloody ha!!!Their soul was in the bottle of moonshine and now the devil let it out,we`ll have some trouble putting it back!!!

by: Mary
November 06, 2012 14:46
Thank you for the story, it is a very important topic.

I just wanted to point out that Mr Medvedev said that according to the UN report there are between hald and TWO million enslaved people, not one million, as was transcribed in the subtitles.

Most Popular

Editor's Picks