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Plaintiffs demand $ 73,000 from their ex-pimps for the work they delivered as sex workers

Former guard Berik Rahimzhanov first became involved in human trafficking in March 2003, when in a highway cafe he met an underage sex worker Ana (the names of sex workers are not real). He offered her patronage and protection in exchange for a friction of her income. Such cooperation lasted a year.

Then the pimp offered the girl trips to Nizhnevartovsk in Russia, to meet the well-off oil industry workers there. Having an organizational talent, Rahimzhanov not only managed to smuggle an underage girl across the border, but to also provide her with work. The money earned by the teenager was systematically taken away by Russian partners (whom the investigation was not able to find) and forwarded to Rahimzhanov.

In March 2005 Ana escaped from her “patrons” and hitchhiked to her hometown Petropavlovsk. By that time Berik Rahimzhanov had already organized a small team of sex workers. In order to prevent the girls from running away or hiding the income, he decided to keep and guard them in one place. The guard was an acquaintance of his, a teenager S.D. who had been involved in pimping since the age of 14 by providing girls to clients. In this way the girls gradually became a commodity of the new slave-owner.

S.D. confessed in interrogation that “Girls were taken to saunas in Petropavlovsk in the evening and brought back in the morning. After work, they had to put all the money they earned on the table.”

Rahimzhanov knew how many hours they worked and how many clients they had. He was taking all the money they made. Amounts differed, but in average it was $ 80-120 per day. Working hours were limitless; food was poor – Chinese pasta, tea and bread. The girls could see the outer world only through a barred window of a rented apartment, the location of which was changed regularly so not to attract police attention. Also they saw the world through the taxi window on their way to sauna or hotel. After such “field work” the guarded girls were taken back to the flat. The “master” himself locked and unlocked the door.

Rahimzhanov beat his slaves in order to scare them and break their will to resist. He also had a pneumatic gun to threaten the rebelled. An attempt to escape would lead to an exemplary punishment. The runaway was once taken to the forest in winter, stripped off naked and left in the freezing cold to think the matter over. Sometimes she would be tied naked to the bumper of the car and dragged along in order to educate. One of the prostitutes who had escaped to meet her son hardly recovered after such punishment. But as soon as she became better she escaped again. When Rahimzhanov found her in her sister’s flat in Bishkul and demanded a ransom, she turned to police for help.

For trafficking underage victims, recruiting people for exploitation purposes, illegal confinement and racketeering Berik Rahimzhanov was sentenced to seven and a half years of imprisonment by the Kyzylzhar District Court. S.D. being underage was sentenced to one and a half years in prison.

Unfortunately the court turned down the $ 46,500 civil suit of the underage Ana and a prostitute by name Zhanna, who demanded $ 25,500. In the verdict’s explanation, the judge said that “there are no tariffs for such type of service” and claimed it was impossible to count the number of clients the women had serviced.

Zaure Zhumalieva

Translated from: www.liter.kz