Answering job ads Indian men find themselves on the Russian frontline

Answering job ads Indian men find themselves on the Russian frontline

Answering job ads Indian men find themselves on the Russian frontline

Warning: This article contains details some readers may find distressing.

In a classic bait and switch, the BBC recently reported on the stories of several men from India who were lured to Russia with the promise of a well-paid job. But instead of a great new job, what they found on arrival was forced conscription into the Russian armed forces, having to put their lives on the line for a cause and a country that were foreign to them with little recourse to escape.

Offered a golden opportunity- trafficked into a war zone

Many in Southeast Asia seek jobs in Europe and the Middle East hoping for a better income than the meager wages on offer at home and to lift themselves and their families out of grinding poverty. This desperation leaves them extremely vulnerable to modern slavery and an increasing number of young men in India are being offered what they are told is a “golden opportunity.” Employment agencies and job ads are promoting the chance to work as a security guard in Russia for monthly salaries of around 200,000 rupees ($2,402; £1,898). For David Moothappan, who dropped out of school and was working as a fisherman when he saw the offer on a Facebook advertisement, the promised salary seemed like a huge amount. But a few weeks later he found himself not in the uniform of a security officer, but in soldier’s gear posted on the warfront in the Russian-held city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Mr. Moothappan said:

“There were body parts strewn all over the ground, (I) started vomiting and almost fainted.”

When Mr. Moothappan initially arrived in Moscow, he and his friends were all made to sign a contract in Russian, a language none of them could read. Recruits from Sri Lanka joined them, and they were all taken to a military camp in the Rostov region bordering Ukraine. It was here that Russian officers took their passports and mobile phones, even their families didn’t know where they were or what their situation was.

Learn more