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Oksana B

2017 (Narrative date)

Forced labour accounts for 98 percent of cases of modern slavery in Russia. Made up of both Russian and foreign workers, particularly from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, these people are enslaved in the agricultural and construction sectors, in factories, private homes, forestry, automotive and fishing industries. Russia also stands as the second largest migrant receiving country in the world, and remains one of the top 5 destinations for Ukrainians seeking work. These migrant workers often rely on underground networks and intermediaries, not knowing exactly what work they are committing to. Increased unemployment, poverty and demands for cheap labour among Russian citizens, along with the flow of cross-border migration has created new pockets of vulnerability and opportunities for labour exploitation in the country. 


Oksana, 46, was trafficked from Ukraine into forced labour in Russia 

My mother was diagnosed with cancer and needed treatment, but couldn’t pay for it. My friend suggested we find work in Moscow. A nice woman met us at the station. She said we’d be caring for sick patients for $1,000 [£765] a month. But then we were told our job was to clean a three-story house that had burned in a fire. We were given only one meal a day, and the guards raped us like monsters. My mum died four months after I got back. She never had her operation. When she saw the condition I was in, it killed her. 


As told to the Guardian