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Rights activist hopes for probe into migrants' forced labor at shop in northeastern Moscow

December 11, 2012, 15:25 UTC+3

The resounding story of "slaves" at a Moscow food store was carried by mass media outlets in late October

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MOSCOW, December 11 (Itar-Tass) — Chairman of the presidential human rights council Mikhail Fedotov is hoping that the migrants' forced labor at a foodstore in the Golyanovo district, northeastern Moscow, will be investigated.

"There has been no reply from Moscow prosecutors yet; I do not understand their position," Fedotov told a news conference on Tuesday. He added that a representative of the Moscow prosecutor's office had not turned up for a meeting with rights activists. "Perhaps, they see no slavery there; because the slaves were not shackled," he said.

The Federal Migration Service treats the situation with understanding and is ready to contribute to the legalization of the migrants for the period of the investigation, according to Fedotov.

The resounding story of "slaves" at a Moscow food store was carried by mass media outlets in late October. It said women from Central Asian and their children had been kept in the cellar of a food store in Novosibirskya Street, Golyanovo District. Volunteers said they, together with journalists, had freed from slavery 14 people, including five children. The women stated they had been slaves since 2002.

The Preobrazhensky district investigation department opened criminal proceedings under Article 127, Part 2 /illegal deprivation of freedom, not related to abduction/, but on November 6, district prosecutors overturned the investigator's resolution as illegal and unsubstantiated.

Illegal deprivation of freedom implies that a person is held against his will and has no opportunity to move at his discretion.

It follows from the materials of a check that "the women who arrived in Moscow from Central Asia and worked at the foodstore, visited medical facilities and other state bodies, including Interior Ministry departments, travelled outside Russia, met and communicated with the relatives, and spent their pastime with persons whom they accused of the commission of crime, the prosecutors said.

The prosecutor's resolution to drop the criminal case was appealed at the Moscow prosecutor's office.

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