Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 118

A Russian daily has written in detail on how the taking of hostages has become a profitable business in Chechnya. According to the newspaper “Kommersant,” the practice of slavery has also become widespread: People who are not wealthy, and thus not a good source for a ransom, are kidnapped to use as forced labor.

The paper interviewed Khaimbek Mansurov, a resident of Dagestan, who says that he was kidnapped into slavery in Chechnya in 1994 during a visit there to sell grain. His Kamaz truck was stopped by armed men in Chechnya’s mountains, after which he was forced to work on a mountain plantation, picking wild garlic. Mansurov claims that around 300 slaves were working on the plantation, including children, and that most of them had been kidnapped at the railway stations in Djohar and Gudermes. He said that they were forced to work in leg irons, which were not even removed at night.

According to Mansurov, when the garlic-picking season ended, the plantation owner rented the slaves to other Chechens. Mansur told “Kommersant” that during off-seasons he was forced to herd cattle. He said that earlier this month, he was herding cattle not far from Stavropol, and because he was very sick, the master allowed his leg irons to be removed. Mansur says he made his escape by jumping into the Terek River (Kommersant, June 16).