A court in Kazakhstan has ordered three men suspected of organizing illegal migration of Uzbek citizens to Russia to be held in custody.
The Oral Regional Court in western Kazakhstan said on April 7 that the three men, who are from the area, face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Investigators accuse them of bringing Uzbek citizens to the regional capital, Oral, and then smuggling them across the border into Russia, where they are allegedly met by accomplices.
Tens of thousands of labor migrants form Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan travel to Russia each year, mostly for seasonal work.
Russia has toughened regulations for migrants in recent months, introducing stricter Russian-language tests and labor laws and making it harder for migrants to obtain annual work licenses.