Main Menu
Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                           

Republic of Belarus

Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when President Lukashenko launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, Lukashenko reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises.

Belarus's economic growth is likely to slow in 2009 as it faces decreasing demand for its exports, and will find it difficult to increase external borrowing if the credit markets continue to tighten.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Belarus

Belarus is a source and transit country for women, men, and children trafficked from Belarus and neighboring countries to Russia, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, Egypt, Ukraine, and the Republic of Togo for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Authorities registered 591 trafficking victims of whom 458 were trafficked for sexual exploitation (including 96 minors) and 133 for forced labor; 366 were female (including 42 minors) and 225 were male (including 61 minors).   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Belarus.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include possible precursors of trafficking such as poverty. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims


Ministry of Interior
Country code: 375-



Efforts To Eradicate Human Trafficking In Belarus

Sean Kenney, Borgen Project

[accessed 20 January 2021]

THE SITUATION -- Belarus recorded 128 confirmed trafficking victims and nine potential victims in the Trafficking in Persons report for 2020. Meanwhile, data that NGOs compiled in 2019 has indicated that 91 identified victims comprised of 58 men and 33 women. While victims exist within Belarus, they also exist outside of Belarus’ borders as the traffickers export men for forced labor to Russia and women for sex work to western Europe. Of the 91 victims, 52 experienced exploitation in Russia.

At the moment, human trafficking predominantly affects men in Belarus by way of labor exploitation. In particular, it is common for Belarusian men to find themselves enslaved in Dagestani brick factories. Forced labor also takes place in Belarus through state-sponsored programs called “subbotniks.” These governmental programs force factory workers, civil workers and students to work on farms and clean streets, and anyone who resists experiences threats and intimidation.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Belarus

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 11 May 2021]


Regulations against forced labor were seldom enforced, and resources and inspections dedicated to preventing forced and compulsory labor were minimal.

Belarus largely served as a source country for labor trafficking. Aside from border restrictions enacted during COVID-19, Belarusians were able to freely travel to and work in Russia, reportedly the largest destination country. Compared to NGOs, the government rarely identified victims of labor trafficking, and prosecution of those responsible for forced labor remained minimal. NGOs in 2019 identified 59 labor trafficking victims, compared with the government’s three. Authorities reportedly did not recognize claims by Belarusians who returned from Russia and complained they had endured forced labor there. Government efforts to prevent and eliminate labor trafficking did not improve during the year.


The law prohibits the worst forms of child labor. The minimum age for employment is 16. Children as young as 14 may conclude a labor contract with the written consent of one parent or a legal guardian. The Prosecutor General’s Office is responsible for enforcement of the law. Persons younger than 18 are allowed to work in nonhazardous jobs but are not allowed to work overtime, on weekends, or on government holidays. Work may not be harmful to children’s health or hinder their education.

The government generally enforced these laws and penalties for violations were commensurate with those of other serious crimes.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Mandatory unpaid national work days, postgraduate employment allocation, compulsory labor for inmates in state rehabilitation facilities, and restrictions on leaving employment have led labor activists to conclude that all Belarusians experience forced labor at some stage of their life. The lack of economic opportunities led many women to become victims of the international sex trade.

Preventing, Fighting and Addressing the Social Consequences of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republic of Belarus

European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2009

[accessed 22 January 2011]

[accessed 23 April 2020]

The joint project of the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) “Preventing, Fighting and Addressing the Social Consequences of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republic of Belarus seeks to enhance the national capacities of Belarus in fighting trafficking in human beings with preventive measures and better protection and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.

In particular, the project aims to:

  • extend the national network of institutions rendering protection and reintegration services to victims of trafficking in human beings;
  • scale up advocacy and raise awareness about trafficking in human beings among at-risk groups and the general public;
  • enhance capacity of the law-enforcement agencies in prosecution of traffickers;
  • improve coordination and information-sharing among responsible state agencies and NGOs;
  • contribute to generating part-time and long-term employment for women and young people to eliminate the socio-economic causes of human trafficking.

Government of Belarus shows political will and determination to counter human trafficking

The National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus, 07/19/2007

[accessed 2 September 2014]

[accessed 23 April 2020]

The government of Belarus has showed political will and determination to counter human trafficking and has achieved great results in this area, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Brunson McKinley said during a ceremony to inaugurate the international centre for training and retraining specialists in combating human trafficking and illegal migration today in Minsk.

“The idea to open the centre attests to the desire of the Belarusian government to share its rich experience and best practices in the fight against trade in people and illegal migration with specialists from all countries,” Mr. Brunson McKinley said.

500 human trafficking crimes exposed in Belarus this year [2006]

ITAR-TASS News Agency of Russia, Minsk, 26/10/2006

-- Source:

[accessed 13 June 2013]

[accessed 28 May 2017]

Some 500 crimes of human trafficking were exposed in Belarus in the first nine months of this year, including more than 160 cases when the victims were taken abroad.

According to Belarussian representatives, the problem of recruiting citizens for sexual or labor exploitation abroad remains quite acute. According to an analysis of criminal cases, Byelorussians are taken to 30 countries of the world for sexual or labor exploitation

The problem of labor exploitation of Belarussians at construction sites in Russia has also became topical recently. They are promised high pay, but, upon arriving at the point of destination, Russian employers take away their passports and force them to work 12 to 14 hours a day, using physical violence on those who resist.

IOM appraises Belarus’ efforts aimed to fight against human trafficking

The National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus, 10/26/2006

[accessed 2 September 2014]

The International Organization for Migration /IOM/ appraises Belarus’ efforts aimed to counteract human trafficking, head of the counter-trafficking department of the IOM headquarters in Geneva Richard Danziger told a press conference in Minsk on October 25.

He has noted that the work of the government of Belarus in the field of fight against human trafficking meets the world standards and is very efficient. According to Richard Danziger, Belarus has forged “a comprehensive regulatory framework”, which takes into account the IOM recommendations and international experience.

Slavery and Belarus

Anna Volk, Tech Central Station TCS Daily,, 08/23/2005 – Source:

[accessed 13 June 2013]

[accessed 23 April 2020]

Early in 2004, during a trip from his presidential palace to his residence, the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, decided there were too many faces of foreign women and girls on billboards. As a "preventive" step against human trafficking, he signed a decree that requires companies to use only Belarusian faces in their advertising. This is supposed to help more young Belarusian women get more modeling jobs in the country, instead of going abroad, where they may suffer an increased risk of being "trafficked".

Committee On Elimination Of Racial Discrimination Considers Report Of Belarus

United Nations Press Release

[accessed 2 September 2014]

In connection with human trafficking, an Expert asked what was being done to improve the situation of women and girls who were forced into prostitution. The delegation said measures had been taken to ensure that such activities were punished, as well as child prostitution. Efforts were also taken to ensure that the victims were re-integrated into society. A number of seminars had been conducted in both Belarus and in Ukraine to deal with this dilemma.

Human Rights in Belarus

Foreign Affairs, Canada, Updated 2004-03-24

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

BACKGROUND - Lukashenko continues to repress those who are critical of the President and his administration. Several prominent figures critical of the President have disappeared including former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka, opposition leader Viktar Hanchar, businessman Anatol Krasousky, and Dmitry Zavadsky, a caeranman with Russia's ORT television. Professor Yury Bandazhevsky, a fierce critic of the Belarusian authorities' reaction to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, remains imprisoned and is in poor health. However, journalists Viktor Ivashkevich, Pavel Mazheyka, and Mikola Markevich, who had previously been arrested and sentenced to hard labour for slander, were freed in 2003.

Belarus was classified as the only "not free" country in Europe in a recent survey by New York based NGO Freedom House.

Efforts of the Government of Belarus in fighting trafficking in persons

[access date unavailable]

Currently there are five projects against human trafficking being implemented in Belarus. They involve participation of governmental agencies, international organizations, national NGOs, governments of the United States, Sweden and the Netherlands. The Government of Belarus also implements comprehensive long-term program against human trade and prostitution, adopted in 2001 and updated in 2004. Ministry of Internal Affairs especially closely cooperates with the European Commission, UNDP Mission to Belarus, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Belarusian Association of Young Christian Women, and others.

Out of 555 crimes registered during 11 months of 2004 17 are qualified as human trade, 72 – recruiting people for sexual exploitation, 307 – keeping brothels and pimping (including 91 for trafficking people abroad), 27 – dissemination of pornographic materials, 128 – inducing youngsters into asocial behavior (including 78 involving prostitution), and 4 – kidnapping with trafficking abroad. In all, 184 crimes related to trafficking people abroad were uncovered. About 400 women were identified as victims of trafficking.

Action to End Modern-day Slavery - 2004 TIP Release Press Statement

Embassy of the United States of America, Minsk, Belarus, 2004 TIP Release Press Statement, June 14, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

"Criminals and criminal networks are targeting some of the most vulnerable people in Belarus," said former U.S. Rep. John Miller, who leads U.S. Government efforts against human trafficking. "We're reaching out in the spirit of partnership to encourage all governments to accelerate efforts to end this atrocity and protect people from human trafficking schemes."

Some 10,000 Belarusians victims of human trafficking annually

Belarus News, 02/03/2004

[accessed 22 January 2011]

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also be accessible [here]

Some 10,000 Belarusians become victims of human trafficking annually, according to Raman Pawlyuchenka of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The total number of Belarusian victims may have reached 50,000, Mr Pawlyuchenka said at a three-day workshop last week.

A typical Belarusian victim is a woman from a low-income problem family resident in a small provincial town, IOM experts say. They suggest that instruction in measures against sex slavery should be incorporated in Belarusian school curricula.

Bosnia: The United Nations, human trafficking and prostitution

Tony Robson, World Socialist Web Site, 21 August 2002

[accessed 22 January 2011]

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) between 6,000 and 10,000 foreign women have been coerced into prostitution in Bosnia. Sources put the figure of establishments where sex can be bought at 900. Figures compiled by the IOM in May 2000 showed that more than 50 percent of the women came from Moldova while the remainder originated from other former republics of the Soviet Union such as Ukraine and Belarus, and a significant number from Rumania. More than two thirds had never worked in prostitution before.

Many are lured by promises of finding work in the West as waitresses or nannies. Once isolated from their families, the sex traffickers take their passports and sell the women to pimps for between $500 and $1,500. At some venues, like the nightclubs in Brcko, near the Bosnia-Serbia border, women are auctioned like cattle to brothel owners.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 7 June 2002

[accessed 22 January 2011]

[51] The Committee is concerned about the information that Belarus is a country of origin and transit for trafficking of children, in particular girls, for the purpose of sexual and other forms of exploitation. The Committee notes that there is a lack of information and knowledge about this phenomenon and about problems such as sexual exploitation, drug abuse and the involvement of children in the drug trade, and economic exploitation, often related to trafficking.

The Protection Project - Belarus [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Women and girls are trafficked from Belarus mainly for sexual exploitation. According to a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 10,000 Belarusians become victims of trafficking annually.

According to data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the average unemployed Belarusian is a woman under the age of 30 with a general secondary education.  Belarusian women are lured by newspaper advertisements that promise legitimate work abroad; however, the women often end up in prostitution and are kept against their will by threats of violence.  Several investigations abroad have uncovered trafficking rings involving Belarusian women or girls. In April 2004, police in Luxembourg raided a nightclub, smashing a ring that had trafficked approximately 150 women, most of them from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, to Luxembourg for forced prostitution.  In May 2004, the gendarmerie of Upper Austria reported that 150 young Belarusian women had been forced into prostitution in that province after being lured there with false promises of jobs in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

There are no direct or indirect statistics on trafficking in children from Belarus. Experts from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) know of individual cases and facts, however, and they have confirmed that trafficking in children from Belarus does exist. Those most at risk for child trafficking are children between the ages of 11 to 18 who are from single-parent or dysfunctional families in villages and small towns. Girls are more likely to be victims than boys. Traffickers recruit children from youth clubs, at pubs, and in student hostels with false promises of good earnings, though sometimes the victims know they are being recruited for the sex industry. A widespread method is for the trafficker to pretend that he has fallen in love with a girl in order to gain her trust and then to sell her. Girls are used to provide sexual services and for the production of pornography. Boys have been trafficked to Russia for pornographic video production.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 22 January 2011]


2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 17 March 2019]

[accessed 24 June 2019]


Regulations against forced labor were seldom enforced, and resources and inspections dedicated to preventing forced and compulsory labor were minimal and inadequate to deter violations. Penalties for violations included forfeiture of assets and sentences of five to 15 years’ imprisonment. The government rarely identified victims of trafficking, and prosecution of those responsible for forced labor remained minimal. Government efforts to prevent and eliminate forced labor in the country did not improve.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 7 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Trafficking of children was a problem.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – NGO sources estimated that 10 thousand citizens became victims of trafficking annually, primarily for sexual exploitation in other countries. The country was both a country of origin and transit for women and girls trafficked to the EU (particularly Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Cyprus), the Middle East (particularly Israel), Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and Japan. The country's open border with Russia was a particular problem as it allowed easy trafficking of women. Women under the age of 30 and girls were at particular risk of being trafficked due to their ignorance of the danger and their lack of economic opportunities, although women over 30 increasingly became trafficking victims during the year.

Traffickers used force, fraud, and coercion to traffic persons, mostly from economically depressed areas, for sexual exploitation or for physical or menial labor. Traffickers used offers of foreign employment or marriage and travel agencies to recruit victims. More than half of the women trafficked were promised jobs as dancers or entertainers without any mention of prostitution or sex work. Traffickers often withheld victims' documents and used physical and emotional abuse to control them.

Employment agencies particularly travel and modeling agencies and persons with connections overseas were primarily responsible for trafficking. Some traffickers reportedly had links to organized crime and drug trafficking.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Belarus",, [accessed <date>]