DEC. 30 - Russian coast guard officials Tuesday discovered 25 Ukrainian “slaves” aboard a fishing boat accused of poaching crab.
Officials discovered the men, reportedly exhausted and starved, after boarding the vessel, named Pervorechensk, for a routine inspection near the Russian island of Sakhalin, news reports say. The men were found “locked in the hold with three tons of poached crab,” senior assistant to the Sakhalin state prosecutor Tatyana Kutuzova says in a report.
Officials believe the Ukrainians were lured onto the boat sometime between February and August after the men were promised high-paying jobs in Russia’s far east, reports say. Once at sea, the crew allegedly pulled guns on the Ukrainians, forcing them to work with no pay.
“[The Ukrainians] were not paid for their work,” Kutuzova says in a report. “The Ukrainians were forced to work and were punished by ration and water restrictions when they refused to work.”
— Jason Fell