According to Radio Liberty, at the end of October this year, another group of Uzbek women involved in prostitution was deported from Kazakhstan. The youngest of them is 13 years old.
Uzbek women on the panel - a new phenomenon, large-scale, and testifying is not in favor of the state. Uzbekistan is the main supplier of “live goods” to the sex industry of the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Eastern Europe. Expert opinions boil down to one simple explanation of this situation - poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness drive Uzbek women from their homes to look for happiness in distant and unseen countries. Girls from low-income families present a trip abroad as a lucky ticket and are ready to go there on any conditions, since the amounts of the promised earnings are fabulous for them.
Although usually a woman is simply offered unskilled work abroad, it would be wrong to say that they do not know what they will have to do there. Following the voluntary consent to engage in prostitution, another problem arises - trafficking or selling into slavery for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Victims of traffic, returning from a terrible journey, talk about debt bondage, threats, beatings, pumping tranquilizers. All this changes the psychological character of a woman and makes her too weak to find the strength to fight against her tormentors, to turn to the police or court for help.
In July of this year, the Moscow City Court sentenced to 7 years in prison in a strict regime penal colony of the Russian Pavel Golenko. Since 2004, a 28-year-old man has been supplying girls from Uzbekistan to brothels in the United Arab Emirates. The court found him guilty of "human trafficking, unlawful deprivation of liberty with violence."
According to the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, about a thousand Uzbek women return by force from other countries a year, but there are practically no lawsuits related to human trafficking.
Today, in Uzbekistan, the punishment for trafficking in persons is from five to eight years in prison. However, according to the director of Istikboli Avlod NGO (Future Generation) Nodira Karimova, “it’s almost impossible to bring to trial under this article.” Today’s traffickers justify themselves in court, saying that they only promised work and wages. “They built whole trading companies, and the chain of these crimes is very difficult to trace,” says Nodira Karimova.
The fight against such crimes should be a priority, but for the Uzbek security forces, apparently the main priority is to catch the critics of the president and the government.