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Police open trafficking case in connection with university students` educational trip to Turkey
14:57, 19/09/2005

Belarus` interior ministry has opened a criminal probe against several agencies, suspecting them of sending 10 Belarusian university students to Turkey for forced labor, Aleksandr Gavrilov, chief of the ministry`s vice department, told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

The students went to Turkey for training but were forced to wash floors and peel potatoes instead, he said. Some of them have already come back to Belarus, but the others still remain in Turkey, he added.

The official declined to disclose whether the probe targets private or state-run agencies and whether the agencies had licenses to provide foreign employment services.

The criminal proceedings were instituted under Part 1 of the Criminal Code`s Article 187 that carries punishment for "illegal actions aimed at providing people with jobs abroad."

It was reportedly opened in response to complaints from victims and as a result of the ministry`s own investigation.

In the first eight months of 2005, Belarus` police opened 15 criminal cases in connection with the sending of a total of 50 Belarusians abroad for labor exploitation, Mr. Gavrilov said.

Three legal entities and one sole entrepreneur have been licensed in Belarus to offer jobs abroad following the issue of a presidential edict against human trafficking this past spring.




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