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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025            

Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)

Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country with a predominantly agricultural economy. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, uranium, natural gas, and electricity.

The government and international financial institutions have been engaged in a comprehensive medium-term poverty reduction and economic growth strategy.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrgyz Republic is a source, transit, and to a lesser extent, a destination country for men and women trafficked from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and South Asia for purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women are trafficked to Kazakhstan and Russia for the purpose of forced labor in the agricultural, construction, and textile industries. Kyrgyz and foreign women are trafficked to the U.A.E, Kazakhstan, China, South Korea, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Thailand, Germany, and Syria for commercial sexual exploitation. The city of Osh is a growing destination for women trafficked from Uzbekistan for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009    Check out a later country report here and possibly a, full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the Kyrgyz Republic.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify 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 precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. 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

International Organization for Migration
3 12 61 24 56
Country code: 996-



Kyrgyzstan - The Kidnapped Bride

Petr Lom, Frontline World, March 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

When the bride does arrive, she is dragged into the groom's house, struggling and crying. Her name is Norkuz, and it turns out she has been kidnapped from her home about a mile away.

As the women of the groom's family surround Norkuz and hold down both of her hands, they are at once forceful and comforting, informing her that they, too, were kidnapped. The kidnappers insist that they negotiated the abduction with Norkuz's brother, but her sister, a lawyer from Osh, arrives to protest that her sister is being forced to marry a stranger. Ideally in Kyrgyz circles, a bride's family gets a price for their daughter, but Norkuz is 25 -- considered late to marry -- and the women remind her she is lucky she was kidnapped at all.

Preventing Human Trafficking in Kyrgyzstan Project [PDF]

Contributors: Elmira Shishkaraeva & Galina Gorborukova;  Editor: Amy Heyden,  Final Report, March 5, 2004

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 10 July 2013]

V. CONCLUSIONS - The use of human beings as collateral in trade deals is a specific type of human trafficking that exists in the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan. This type of human trafficking is related with small enterprises and constitutes informal business guarantees for trade deals between Kyrgyz and Chinese businesses. Many NGOs and law enforcement representatives participated in the meetings were inclined to examine the issue of human collateral as a characteristic of human trafficking in Kyrgyzstan, although this issue of consent in these deals was rather controversial. There was a lack of understand of the full definition of human trafficking and how in these instances, where individuals held as collateral are denied freedom of movement, have their passports confiscated, etc., these individuals may be considered victims of human trafficking regardless of whether or not they consenting to being human collateral. There does seem to be a decrease in the prevalence of this problem as the tightened visa regime has made it more difficult to travel to China, but there are still individuals being held in China who need assistance in being repatriated to Kyrgyzstan.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Trafficked: Three survivors of human trafficking share their stories

Karimova comes full circle

UN Women, 29 July 2019 - originally published on

[accessed 30 July 2019]

But things took a turn for the worse after arriving in Bishkek. Karimova recalls that, “They held us in an apartment and took away our passports. They told us that we’d be photographed again for our new employment documents, to be registered as waitresses. It felt strange, but we believed them.”

Then, Karimova and the other women were put on a plane to Dubai, handed fake passports instead of their real ones, and shepherded to an apartment after landing. “We were to be sex slaves and do whatever the clients wanted. The next day I was sent to a nightclub and told that I would have to earn at least 10,000 USD by the end of the month,” says Karimova.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kyrgyz Republic

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

[accessed 13 June 2021]


The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The law specifically prohibits the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of sex or labor exploitation and prescribes penalties that were sufficient to deter violations. Forced labor is also prohibited by the labor code and the code on children. The government did not fully implement legal prohibitions, and victim identification remained a concern. Forced labor was found in agriculture, construction, textiles, domestic service, and childcare.


Child labor remained a problem. Children continued to be engaged in household-scale work in cotton and tobacco cultivation; growing rice, potatoes, sugar beets, and wheat; and raising cattle and sheep. Reports indicated children worked in the industrial and services sectors as well, in coal mining; brick making; and construction, including lifting and portering construction materials and cutting metal sheets for roofs. In the services sector, children worked in bazaars, including by selling and transporting goods; washing cars; working in restaurants and cafes; begging and shoe shining as part of street work; and providing domestic work, including childcare. Examples of categorical worst forms of child labor in the country included: commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking; and illicit activities, including trafficking drugs, as a result of human trafficking (see section 7.b.).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


The government does not actively enforce workplace health and safety standards. Child labor is restricted by law but reportedly occurs, particularly in the agricultural sector. The trafficking of women and girls into forced prostitution abroad is a serious problem. Police have been accused of complicity in the trafficking and exploitation of victims. Kyrgyzstani men are especially vulnerable to trafficking for forced labor abroad.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 18 April 2019]

[accessed 30 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 590]

Hazardous child labor is most prevalent in the oblasts (provinces) of Naryn and Osh. (16) There is limited evidence that some children migrate with their families to work in the cotton fields in Kazakhstan. (24) Some children left behind, after their parents migrate to work in Kazakhstan, Russia, or other areas of the country, do not have access to their birth certificates and guardianship documents that are required for school enrolment. As a result, these children cannot enroll in school and are vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. (6; 13; 25).

Kyrgyz Police Halt Flight To U.A.E. On Trafficking Suspicion

February 2006

[accessed 17 February 2011]

One, a resident of Samarkand, said that she was traveling to work in a restaurant in Dubai. But another woman, a 17-year-old from Ferghana, said that she was going to the U.A.E. to work as a prostitute. The woman cited a lack of alternative employment opportunities in Uzbekistan as the reasons for her decision.

Kyrgyzstan struggles to stop slave trade

Aigul Rasulova, Eurasianet, June 28, 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2018]

Seventeen-year-old Olga only wanted a job. Instead, lured to China with the promise of work in a restaurant, this Kyrgyzstani teenager found herself sold into a prostitution ring.

"If we refused to work as prostitutes, the owner threatened to punish us," Olga said. With no money and no passports, Olga and five other girls from Kyrgyzstan were held in bondage for a month. In the end, alerted by concerned parents, a joint Interpol operation with officers from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China located the girls and set them free.

Facts & Stats

Frontline World, March 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

WOMEN AND BRIDE KIDNAPPING IN KYRGYZSTAN - Though it remains illegal in the Kyrgyz Republic, the frequency of kidnappings appears to have risen after independence and continues to be on the rise as an element of the reclamation of Kyrgyz identity after Soviet rule. There is little evidence that violations of the law against kidnapping are punished.

Bride kidnappings reportedly range from staged, consensual events that are planned after the bride and groom have been dating to violent, nonconsensual events planned by the family of the groom.  It's been estimated that up to a third of all ethnic Kyrgyz women in Kyrgyzstan may have been wedded in nonconsensual bride kidnappings.

Bride Kidnapping: What Makes Women Stay

Abdulaeva Shirin, Arjomand Victoria, Tursunov Nariman,  30 June 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 12 February 2019]

RESULTS - On the basis of our interviews, out of the six people interviewed, four of them had been divorced within the first few years of their abduction. One committed suicide and only one is still with her husband.  In all of these cases, the women were made to stay with their abductors due to pressure  from their families and the fear of being ostracized from society if they returned, and not being able to find a husband. In one case the woman said that when she was abducted her first thought was that she was going to be killed, so when she found out that instead she was going to be married she gladly accepted this ‘better option’

New passport to help combat human trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN

[accessed 9 March 2015]

The old Kyrgyz passport is not in compliance with international standards, a fact the authorities feel could contribute to human trafficking and terrorist activities, and threaten national security. There have been some unconfirmed reports that human traffickers fly their Uzbek and Tajik victims via the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other countries using forged Kyrgyz passports, something deemed impossible with the use of new travel documents, experts say.

Widespread Human Rights Abuses Undermine Kyrgyz Mental Health Care

Eurasianet , May 6, 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 12 February 2019]

At both Chim-Korgon and the Republican Mental Health Clinic, forced labor occurs in violation of both the Kyrgyz Constitution and international law. Neither hospital pays patients for their work. At RMHC, patients take part in so-called "labor therapy" to improve hospital grounds. At Chim-Kogron, patients work the hospital’s vegetable fields to diversify their diet. "If a patient wishes to have a diet that consists of anything substantially more than bread, pasta, or tea, he or she must work for this food," the report states. Yet only patients who have demonstrated good behavior and a stable psychiatric condition have access to the food.

CENTRAL ASIA: Special report on human trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Ankara, 21 Oct 2003

[accessed 9 March 2015]

GROWING PROBLEM - "We conducted some research in the year 2000 in [the Kyrgyz capital] Bishkek, which concluded that some 4,000 women a year were trafficked from the Kyrgyz Republic. But this might include some women with a varying degree of consent. It might include some women who are working in the sex industry, but not as trafficking victims," Michael Tschanz, the IOM chief of mission in Almaty, told IRIN.

Preventing Human Trafficking Project in Kyrgyzstan

Winrock International, 08/07/2010

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2018]

[scroll down]

In fall 2003, Winrock International began a two-year project to prevent human trafficking in Kyrgyzstan with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The purpose of the “Preventing Human Trafficking Project” (PHT) is to increase the ability of individuals and institutions in Kyrgyzstan to combat human trafficking.  Winrock’s project has the following two objectives:   -  To contribute to the prevention of human trafficking by strengthening the capacity of local NGOs both to conduct public outreach and to provide relevant training on legitimate alternatives to offers of work abroad;  -  To contribute to the protection of victims of human trafficking through development of appropriate victim assistance services.

The UN Link - The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan

[access date unavailable]

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION - Poverty and lack of economic opportunities are the main core of smuggling of and trafficking in human beings. These factors encourage women and men to seek work abroad, in situations where perhaps they might not otherwise do so. Methods of recruitment in the Kyrgyz Republic are similar to other parts of the world. Newspaper advertisements, tourist firms, friends or acquaintances, and the Internet are key instruments in the effective organized recruitment of women, girls and, recently, young men into forced labor, and often into sexual exploitation. The experience of the International Organization for Migration shows that women from province are potential victims of trafficking, since they have more limited access to information. A promise of better life abroad attracts them to go there. Women are enticed by false promises of highly paid work, nice housing and good labor conditions in the United Arab Emirates or South Korea. Cultural factors and lack of relevant legislation pose obstacles for female victims to pursue traffickers; accountability within some government structures demand attention to the legal environment for prosecution of traffickers.

Rights of the Child in Kyrgyzstan [PDF]

Ramazan Dyryldaev and Séverine Jacomy, The Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights -- A report prepared for the Committee on the Rights of Child, Geneva, February 2004

[accessed 28 January 2016]

C.  SEXUAL ABUSE, TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION - Several sources report a growing trend of selling or “handing over” of girls by their own parents. These girls are most vulnerable to near slavery and sexual abuse in early marriage and/or to prostitution and trafficking. Both IWPR  and IOM/OSCE  reports confirm local estimates that Kyrgyzstan has become a lead country in trafficking of minors for sexual purposes, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey being the main countries of destination.

For instance, Vecherniy Bishkek reported the case of two girls, Alina, 17 years old, and Dinara, 15 years old, who managed to escape from a brothel before they were transported to UAE . Alina reported that in early October 2003, around 4 p.m., she was approached by two unknown young men at a mini-market in Jalal-Abad. Under some false pretext they took her to a solitary room, and one of them knocked her unconscious with a heavy object. When she recovered she found herself lying on a sofa in a strange room, with another girl who was in tears. They were kept for several days under guard in the same flat, then taken in a car to Bishkek located 600 km away from Jalal-Abad. Throughout the trip they were tied up, with Scotch tape put over their mouths. Several times the car was stopped at police posts, but the traffickers paid ransom and drove on. In Bishkek the girls were kept in a one-room flat. Potential buyers were arriving daily to bargain and examine the "merchandise". In order to break their will the kidnappers would beat the girls; they took away all their clothes and jewellery. They demanded that the girls "work" to compensate the costs of carrying them to Bishkek. During the weeks in slavery the girls "changed hands" several times: "First we were bought by Mavlyuda, then resold to Ainura. Finally, when the guards' attention lapsed we escaped from that flat." But many others were not so lucky. According to various NGOs and public opinion polls, human traffickers in Kyrgyzstan have sold or involved in prostitution more than 4,000 women, many of them still underage.

Even when pimping and trafficking networks are uncovered, IWPR official interviewees argue that law enforcement remains the central problem. “For Kubanych Kudaiberdiev, a captain in the Kyrgyz police force, building a credible case is the problem. “It is hard to prove that a girl is a prostitute,” he said. “ To do that, we need to see the actual monetary transaction take place, or get a statement from the client. In theory, that may sound quite realistic, but I have never seen it in all my experience.” Lieutenant-Colonel Musuralieva says the challenge is not catching the criminals, but getting a prosecution through the courts successfully when the criminals may have friends in high places. Her juvenile affairs department regularly teams up with criminal investigation officers to conduct raids, codenamed “Butterfly”, to catch both prostitutes and their pimps. “We keep on uncovering these case, but we’re unable to bring them to their logical conclusion,” she said. “For instance, two cases were filed against pimps this year, but both were dropped. They got help from people higher up, and the cases were closed. It’s likely that these pimps have got backing from some of our high-ranking [police] officers. I’m not afraid to say so.” But even when cases do go to court, defendants can often afford good lawyers while the child prostitutes have no one prepared to take the witness stand for them. If they have parents or relatives, these will often refuse to testify against the pimps.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 October 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[61] The Committee is concerned that the recommendations made upon consideration of the State party’s initial report with regard to the involvement of children in sexual exploitation have not been fully implemented. The Committee is also concerned about the health risks posed to children who are sexually exploited and/or trafficked.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 17 February 2011]


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 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Groups targeted by traffickers included young women unable to earn an adequate living. Poor economic conditions, high unemployment--particularly in the south--and gender inequality made young women and poor workers vulnerable to traffickers who offered lucrative jobs or marriage offers to rich men abroad. The IOM estimated approximately 70 percent of trafficking victims were from the south. Often women were lured abroad via newspaper advertisements or even announcements over loudspeakers in local bazaars. Women responding to job offers for waitresses, au pairs, or dancers, or to marriage agencies could find themselves abroad without documents or money for return tickets and forced to work for their traffickers.

Traffickers were often persons who previously operated local prostitution networks. Relatives or close family friends were also reportedly used to recruit trafficking victims. Tour agents, restaurants, and nightclubs supplemented their activities by trafficking young women to foreign prostitution rings. Traffickers of persons for sexual exploitation included organized crime rings that often used former trafficking victims as recruiters. In some cases traffickers provided escorts, usually an older woman, to accompany victims and facilitate border crossings into countries such as the UAE, where young women were generally not allowed to enter alone. Labor trafficking was much less organized and often involved self-employed recruiters who simply loaded persons onto buses and transported them to the country for work on farms, as well as labor recruitment firms

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 29 November 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are reported to work as prostitutes in urban areas throughout the country.  The Kyrgyz Republic is considered to be primarily a country of origin and transit for the trafficking of children.  While the extent of the problem is unknown, there are reports of girls trafficked for prostitution to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea.  The IOM reported girls as young as 10 years old are trafficked abroad.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery – Kyrgyz Republic",, [accessed <date>]