New Report Reveals Widespread Human Trafficking in Kaliningrad

A study carried out by IOM in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad
has discovered disturbing evidence of human trafficking and
concludes the region is at risk of greater numbers of human
trafficking unless efforts are made to raise awareness of the
problem among the public and authorities.

The research, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
found that Kaliningrad, separated from Russia by Lithuania, is a
source, transit and destination point for human trafficking. The
most common forms were of women, especially minors, trafficked for
sexual exploitation and trafficking for forced labour.

The trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation to
countries abroad is largely to European Union countries,
particularly to Poland, Germany, Turkey and Greece. Victim profiles
show that the women and girls are mainly from socially
disadvantaged families, who are poor, unemployed, subjected to
family violence or who are already working in the local sex

Women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kaliningrad
itself come from the enclave as well as from other regions of
Russia and abroad, including CIS countries such as Ukraine,
Belarus, Uzbekistan and Moldova.

The study also highlights trafficking for forced labour in
Kaliningrad in various sectors of the economy such as construction,
market trading, the manufacturing of counterfeit products and
domestic work, both in towns and villages. Those being trafficked
for forced labour usually come from CIS countries, more recently
from Central Asia. However, cases of men from Kaliningrad wanting
to work in the fishing industry but who were tricked into forced
labour and subjected to physical and psychological violence, were
also documented.

Although Kaliningrad has witnessed some economic improvements over
the years, development is uneven. Eighteen per cent of the
population is officially poor. Having a job is the main motivation
for 50 per cent of the women wanting to leave Kaliningrad as those
with secondary or higher education are often unable to find
appropriate work on the domestic labour market.

However, Kaliningrad is gradually becoming one of the biggest
importers of labour in Russia due to a shortage of
‘man’ power. The region has now a large number of
labour migrants, both forced and unforced, about 90 per cent of
whom reside or work there illegally and who represent one of the
largest risk groups, particularly to slave-like conditions. This is
visible in small and medium enterprises where businessmen use cheap
illegal labour, usually migrants, and exercise criminal control
over them through the seizure of their passports, fraud and
coercion to perform work not specified in contracts.

The study has concluded that although authorities and
decision-makers may be aware of human trafficking, very little
knowledge of the issue has led its failure in reaching public and
political debate as a problem that needs addressing. Other knock-on
effects of the lack of knowledge and awareness include the absence
of criminal proceedings against traffickers as trafficking cases
are not exposed or investigated due to an inability to identify
trafficking cases, and a lack of appropriate assistance for

“We know that in other countries’ experience, awareness
of the problem and the ability to identify trafficking cases are
key to combating this phenomenon. This is why IOM has put forward a
set of recommendations which it feels are essential in achieving
this,” said Audra Sipaviciene, IOM’s chief of mission
in Vilnius.

Recommendations include carrying out information campaigns
targeting the public, at-risk groups and authorities as well as
providing training for law enforcement agencies, government
officials and trades unions and conducting further research to
determine the scale of the problem. Interaction with destination
countries, the developing of a plan of action and the introduction
of regulations to counter human trafficking are also seen as key to
handling the issue.

For additional information please contact:

Audra Sipaviciene

IOM Vilnius

Tel.: +370 5 261 01 15

Fax.: +370 5 261 13 26

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Anna Rubtsova

IOM Moscow

Tel.: +7 (495) 797 87 22, ext. 255 or 250

Fax.: +7 (495) 253 35 22

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