Escape after 12 years of slavery in Kazakhstan 25 февраля 2014, 18:36
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Vladimir Galkin. Photo courtesy of kriminalka.kz
A man has been kept in slavery for more than 12 years on a remote farm in Karaganda Oblast, Tengrinews reports citing Criminalnye Novosti. 53-y.o. Vladimir Galkin, resident of Karaganda city, has managed to escape from captivity, he was wandering through the steppe for several, hiding and eating snow to survive until he could finally find a highway, where he was picked up by truck drivers. According to Vladimir, he was kidnapped in 2001. He was on his way home after getting his monthly salary. It was before March 8 (The Women's Day). He bought some flowers for his wife, met some friends on his way home, the had a drink on the occasion of the coming holiday, then he continued on this way home. About 20 meters separated him from his home when a car pulled over. Several men he never met before offered him to make some money by hepling carry some furniture. They promised not to keep him long and pay double, so he agreed and went into the car. One of them offered him a drink of vodka. He remembers nothing of what happened after that until he woke up in the total darkness. Galkin woke up in a barn. When the door opened he saw a man of around 50 years old. The man was tall, fat and seemed very strong. He ordered Galkin to got do some work and promised to shoot him if he doesn't. Later the captive learned that the man's name was Amantai and he was a wealthy farmer. He had around 1200 sheep, 500 cows and nearly 1000 horses. According to Vladimir, Amantai's farm is located not far from the Karagaily village in Karkaralinsk region, about 300km from Karaganda city. It is the place where the kidnapped man was living and working for scarce food from early morning till late night for 12 years. "Amantai keeps 15 more people like me. Two of them are from Karaganda, one captive is from Temirtau and the other twelve prisoners are from other regions of Kazakhstan. We all lived in a barn, it was locked for the night," Vladimir said. It looks like Amantai is not the only farmer who keeps slaves in the areas: "There were nearly 25 rightless workers like me in the area," the former prisoner said. Vladimir added that those who refused to work were beaten and then driven somewhere. "I don't know where they were taken. But we never saw them again. Amantai didn't need such workers. We can only guess where those people disappeared to. I get cold shivers from imaging what must have happened to them." When Vladimir decided to escape, he knew that if he was caught he would most probably be killed. He took his chance when the farmer forgot to lock the band door. At night Vladimir quietly sneaked out of the barn and headed west. He walked only at nights and laid low during the day hiding in bushes. "I was walking in the hills and only by dark, to avoid being spotted and caught. In the morning I found a place to sleep in and at night I continued on my way. I never made a fire and when I saw shepherd camps I kept wide away from them," Vladimir shared. He was wandering through the steppe for about a week. Fortunately, he managed to find a highway. Truck drivers, transporting coal, picked him up and brought him to the city. When Galkin were back to Karaganda, he found that his wife died and his daughter got married. He also discovered that nobody was ever looking for him during all these 12 years while he was in captivity. "There was no one to look for me. My wife was very sick, and my daughter was just a kid at that time. And I don't really have any other relatives in Karaganda," the man said. Now he wants to help the people, who are still in slavery back at the farm. "The farmer has to be brought to justice," Galkin said. To make this happen Vladimir Galkin needs to report the farmer to the police and tell them his story in details. The police will raid the farm and if his story is found true, the police will charge the farmer with kidnapping humans. This crime is punishable with 10 to 15 years in prison with confiscation of property in Kazakhstan.