Slavery is “alive and well” in Kazakhstan (Part II)

I am so proud of two of my former students who showed up at the American Corner in Astana last Saturday to listen to two speakers talk about human trafficking and then blogged about it.  I’m continuing what I started yesterday based mostly on the notes taken by Wizard of KZ, but this latest story is in the words of “New Challenge” which explains best what happens when slavery goes unchecked as it has for many, many years in Kazakhstan.  Read what New Challenge wrote in her blog about a living example:

A few years ago three people, two men from Karaganda and Temirtau and a woman from Ukraine, were freed after 15 years of forced work in a farm near Karaganda, the owner of which was rather famous and powerful in the local area. These three people were so far from the civilization that they even didn’t know about the independence of our country, about “tenge” (Kazakhstani monetary unit), they thought that people were still using rubles. They no access to Tv, radio, any sources of mass media, they just worked as slaves for no pay, under terrible conditions eating odds and ends left after the dinner of the owner’s family.

Initially, these three people were in good relationships with their “future” trafficker. They were having her internship in that farm before she was victimized, the other two men were simple workers and used to get salary and have good and friendly treatments at first. Then everything had totally changed. In those 15 years the woman lost her mother, and her sister moved to another country, so when she was freed (she was 28 years old when she was trafficked and was unmarried) she had nobody waiting for her back in her country.

Unfortunately, our guests [at American Corner] knew nothing about her further life. The “slaves” could not contact the police because one of the owner sons worked for the transport police, they just didn’t believe the local policemen. Fortunately, one of the owner’s seasoned workers was a really kind-hearted man, and when his work was finished, he reported the police about the situation happening in that family and could cause to release those “slaves”.  Anyway, the judge sentenced the owner and his son to three and two years probation. As it was discovered afterwards, the judge was a woman with three kids, and she was worried about her family.

That brings up a good point in this very sticky delicate crime against humans. The judges have to be strong to hand out sentences, otherwise the criminals will go after their families with threats or even death. May that NOT be so in Kazakhstan!!!

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Батырхан said,

    It makes me sick to think about human trafficing/slavery victims. A question to the blogger: have you ever personally helped anybody be freed out of slavery? Even in an indirect way?

  2. 2

    kazaknomad said,

    Yes, slavery is alive and thriving in your dear country of Kazakhstan and elsewhere in Central Asia. I was unaware of this problem until I read the book “Two Kyrgyz Women.” As a teacher in a university, I am far removed from the fields of slave labor or from the brothels. Fortunately, I met the author of TKW, then had my students read this short book and Marinka visited our class to answer questions and tell us more. Beyond meeting anyone who was freed from slavery, no, the only indirect way I have helped was to give my husband’s and my clothes away once we left KZ for the shelter of victims who are getting rehabilitated. I will say this though, teachers in Kazakhstan, young teachers particularly are SLAVES to those administrators who are still caught in the old-style of Soviet thinking.

    Perhaps that is why I have embraced this problem of slavery which probably goes back to the age old traditions of the mother-in-law ruling the roost and making her daughter-in-law do the hard labor. What a perplexing social condition exists where the powerful use and abuse their power over those who are young. The times are changing where the young people of Kazakhstan may have better ideas. I could write a long time on this subject. Sorry I got carried away.

    The only thing I can do, as an educator, is to continue to blog and make people aware of this problem in Kazakhstan and elsewhere. Education is the key to help young people in the rural area to not feel trapped into compromising themselves or being materialistic to want more things when FREEDOM is the most important thing to own. Truth will set people FREE!!!!

  3. 3

    Батырхан said,

    Intersting. Yes, even in the Kazakh army the high-ranking officers force soldiers to build their houses… It’s terrible. There wasn’t much of such shameful exploitation of the vulnerable in the USSR times… It would be something out of the ordinary if something like that happened. The educational system was way, way better at the time. Both of my parents are retired university professors. Many things that you can see happening these days are uniquely Kazakhstan or post-Soviet fenomena rather than rudiments of the socialist system.


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