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Kazakh Police Arrest Human Traffickers, Free Captive Women

ALMATY -- Kazakh police have detained four suspected human traffickers and freed 16 young women who had been forced into prostitution in Almaty, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Kobeykhan Nurakhmet, an official in the Almaty Interior Affairs Department, told RFE/RL today that police found the women in the Zhibek Zholy Hotel near the Altyn Orda market in Almaty last week.

Nurakhmet said eight of the women were from Uzbekistan, two from Kyrgyzstan, and one from Tajikistan, while the rest were Kazakh citizens.

The 29-year-old owner of the hotel and three others -- all Kazakh citizens -- were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking.

Nurakhmet added that they might be part of a larger human-trafficking ring within Central Asia and Russia.

Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL that it is possible that some Tajik women became victims of a trafficking ring.

He said that in the last five years Tajik security forces have worked to arrest human traffickers but there have been cases of Tajik women being forced into prostitution in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.