500 human trafficking crimes exposed in Belarus this year

MINSK, October 26 (Itar-Tass) - Some 500 crimes of human trafficking were exposed in Belarus in the first nine months of this year, including more than 160 cases when the victims were taken abroad.

The figures were cited at an international conference over ways to boost the effectiveness of cooperation between law-enforcement bodies in counteracting illegal migration and human trafficking, which opened in the Belarussain capital on Thursday.

Taking part in the forum organized by the international organization for migration and the Belarussian Interior Ministry, together with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Untied Nations Children's Fund, are representatives of 13 international organizations, about a dozen non-governmental organizations and law-enforcement bodies and other government agencies from 40 countries from all over the world.

According to Belarussian representatives, the problem of recruiting citizens for sexual or labor exploitation abroad remains quite acute. According to an analysis of criminal cases, Byelorussians are taken to 30 countries of the world for sexual or labor exploitation - Poland, Germany, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Israel.

Whereas earlier girls were cheated into leaving the country, many of them now know that they will be working as prostitutes.

The problem of labor exploitation of Belarussians at construction sites in Russia has also became topical recently. They are promised high pay, but, upon arriving at the point of destination, Russian employers take away their passports and force them to work 12 to 14 hours a day, using physical violence on those who resist.

The conference underlined the necessity of launching close cooperation between the countries of origin and the countries on the receiving end of human trafficking.

Belarussian Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov told reporters how effective such cooperation might be.

Two Belarussian citizens were arrested in a joint operation with German police a few days ago, who were intermediaries in human trafficking. Law-enforcement bodies freed 20 sex slaves. Also, Spanish police, acting on information from their Belarussian colleagues, carried out an operation earlier this month in which six criminals were arrested and 32 girls were freed.