Farmer Suspected of Using Slave Labor

A farmer in southern Russia is suspected of using at least 13 people as slave labor, the regional Interior Ministry said Monday.

Some of those people were abducted and some tricked into working on his farm in the Stavropol region without any pay, the ministry said.

The workers lived in a barracks and were beaten severely for any mistakes, the statement said, adding that when police raided the farm they found 13 people who were illegally held in a shed.

The victims told police that the farmer had seized their passports and never paid any wages, while any attempts by them to leave were ruthlessly squashed with beatings and confinement in a metal container, the department's statement said.

An investigation has been launched. The use of slave labor in Russia carries a prison term of up to 10 years. Abduction is punishable by up to eight years.

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