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Orphanage Director Suspected of Using Child Labor

An orphanage director is suspected of forcing children to work without wages for local businesses in the Urals city of Orenburg, investigators said Tuesday.

The director, Valentina Tazekenova, provided an Orenburg job center with lists containing the names of 36 and 63 children monthly between February and November last year, Orenburg investigators said.

"To fulfill those contracts, minors were engaged in employment in violation of labor rights and safety regulations, and were used in work activities prohibited for persons under 18 years old," the investigators said in a statement.

It said the minors did not receive salaries, that national insurance contributions were not made on their behalf, and that there were no records of their employment history.

It estimated that the withheld salaries totaled more than 1.5 million rubles (about $50,000).

Investigators did not say what kind of work the children engaged in or give their exact ages.

Tazekenova is suspected of abuse of power, forgery and the nonpayment of wages and, if charged and convicted, could face up to four years in prison.

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