Ukrainians who were detained in Russia are victims of human traffickers – MIA

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is assured that citizens of Ukraine, who were detained in Russia in the case of international drug syndicate, are victims of drug traffickers.

As reported by press-service of the Ministry to Interfax-Ukraine news agency. Earlier, Ukrainian human rights defenders reported about the human trafficking scheme, by means of which citizens are recruited to work as courier in Russia. However, when they get there, they are forced to sell drugs. Kateryna Onuprienko told about her son, who suffered from this trafficking scheme.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, 1850 citizens of Ukraine were sentenced in Russia from January 1, 2014, to October 31, 2016, for crimes related to illegal drug trafficking.

“National Police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are consistently fighting against organized groups of human traffickers. Hundreds of our citizens, who at various times have been victims of human traffickers, are on the territory of the Russian Federation… Propagandists of the Russian Federation are presenting them not as victims of illegal trafficking, but as members of an organized criminal group”, - said the employee of press-service. According to him, it is very difficult in such cases to prove that the case is about human trafficking. Also, it will be difficult for Ukraine to return citizens to their homeland, even to serve their sentence in homeland.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs urges the Ukrainians not to seek easy money abroad. Human rights defenders have developed an instruction manual for Ukrainian families, who suffered from the scheme of attracting people to the illegal drug trafficking on the territory of Russia.

Human rights defenders of the Media Initiative for Human Rights are convinced that Ukrainian authorities are responsible for the protection of Ukrainians, who are victims of human trafficking, even in spite of the limited impact on Russia.

“In particular, the National Police of Ukraine, the Department for Combating Crimes Related to Human Trafficking, General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine are obliged besides the investigation and arresting the recruiters on the territory of Ukraine also are obliged to establish who among the detained and convicted Ukrainians is a victim of human trafficking. Ukrainian authorities should address the Russia with demands to investigate the possible entanglement of our citizens in schemes, which are related to human trafficking, as well as with corresponding requests for international legal assistance to interrogate these people as victims. And in the future adhere to the line that these citizens of Ukraine are victims of human trafficking and should be freed from detention by Russian side in accordance with the international instruments”, - said in a statement of the Media Initiative for Human Rights.

As a reminder, on evening of February 10, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia declared that they disrupted the work of large-scale international drug syndicate “Khimprom”.

Russian law enforcement officers arrested 67 people in this case and 47 of them are citizens of Ukraine. The Russian agency also stated that recruiting stations are located in Kyiv and that there were ads, which were offering well-paying jobs as couriers, in the Ukrainian mass media.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expects Russia to confirm the information about the arrest of Ukrainians in this case.

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