Cypriot police found that Oxana's status was legal by qfa60885


									4                                                                                                                                                                                            The Moscow News № 03/2 – 4 February


Human trafficking

Oxana’s broken
In a landmark sex trafficking case, a Russian girl’s
father wins a small victory over her death in Cyprus
Anna Arutunyan

                                                                                                    Courtesy of
The Moscow News

Oxana Rantseva, a pretty,
20-year-old languages student
from Chelyabinsk, thought
she had found her dream job when
she was offered the chance to work
as a translator in Cyprus.
   But just over three weeks after
she flew out to Limassol, the Greek
Cypriot capital, she was found dead
in a fall from a fifth-storey window.
She had been trying to escape a job
in a nightclub that had little to do
with translating.
   That was in March 2001. To this                                                                                                                                                                                                        RIA Novosti

day, no one in Oxana’s case –            SEEKING JUSTICE – Nikolai Rantsev and a photo of Oxana                                ANGER – Feminists protest against the booming sex industry in Eastern Europe
in Cyprus or in Russia – has faced
any trafficking charges, while the       her, according to documents Rantsev          After the Strasbourg court ruling,                              PACE has asked Russia and other                      Cypriot traffickers, Devaux said.
Cypriot authorities have refused to      filed to the Strasbourg court in his      Cyprus acknowledged that it vio-                               countries to sign and ratify the con-                        She added that her committee
launch a criminal investigation.         May 2004 complaint.                       lated articles on a European conven-                           vention, which will improve legisla-                     had applied to PACE to provide statis-
   But last month Oxana’s father,            But the police found that Oxana’s     tion against human trafficking, and                            tion aimed at tackling the problem,                      tics about people trafficked out of
Nikolai Rantsev, won a small victory.    status was legal, and asked her em-       agreed to pay damages to Rantsev.                              PACE representative Jannick Devaux,                      Russia, but there were no figures be-
In a landmark ruling last month, the     ployer to take her to an immigration      The country will this month appoint                            of the assembly’s Equal Opportunities                    cause the situation was so difficult to
European Court for Human Rights in       office at 7 o’clock that morning.         independent experts to probe Rant-                             Committee, told The Moscow News.                         monitor.
Strasbourg found that Cyprus and         Athanasiou brought Oxana to the           seva’s death, a court statement said.                              “Russia will have to change its leg-                     “We have no statistics about how
Russia had failed to protect Oxana       fifth-storey apartment of another            But Russia, which is not a signa-                           islation,” Devaux said. Because the                      many girls – and they are predomi-
from human trafficking, and fined        Zigos Cabaret employee at 6 am. Half      tory to the European convention,                               State Duma has to ratify it, “it will                    nantly girls – have been trafficked
the countries 40,000 euros and 2,000     an hour later she was found dead in       has not yet re-                                                take some time, but the faster they                      [from] Russia.”
euros, respectively.                     the street below the apartment, with      sponded to the                                                 do it the better,” she said.
   He hopes that the ruling, to-         the balcony open and a bedspread          court’s ruling.                                                    It is clear that Rantseva was re-                    Support for convention
gether with the Parliamentary As-        tied to a railing, according to the po-                                                                  cruited in Russia, by Russian or                             Russia has voiced its support for
sembly of the Council of Europe          lice report of her death.                                                                                                                                         the anti-trafficking convention, so
(PACE) urging Russia to ratify an            A Cyprus court in 2001 ruled that                                                                                                                             there is nothing keeping Russia from
                                                                                                                                                                                             RIA Novosti

anti-human trafficking convention,       her death was caused by an acciden-                                                                                                                               joining it, Leonid Slutsky, deputy
may prompt Russian authorities to        tal fall, but a separate autopsy con-                                                                                                                             chairman of the State Duma’s
take action. Currently, it is esti-      ducted in Russia found Oxana may                                                                                                                                  Foreign Affairs Committee, was
mated that the majority of people        have been killed, Churkina said.                                                                                                                                  quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.
trafficked to the European Union ei-         Russian forensic officials found                                                                                                                                  “Only by uniting can we make a
ther come from or via Russia.            “that Ms. Rantseva had died in                                                                                                                                    considerable contribution in fighting
                                         strange and [unclear] circumstances                                                                                                                               this [international] problem,” he said,
Tricked into dancing job                 requiring additional investigation,                                                                                                                               noting that some 700 bilateral and
    Oxana’s story is a harrowing                                                                                                                                                                           multilateral agreements have already
glimpse into the modern slave trade,                                                                                                                                                                       been signed.
and the indifference migrants often
face from law enforcement agencies
in various countries.
                                         Cypriot police                                                                                                                                                        Even so, Russia still does not have
                                                                                                                                                                                                           a separate law specifically targeting
                                                                                                                                                                                                           human trafficking, only a sub-clause
    Rantsev said he had twice refused
to let his daughter work abroad.
    “Then her friend in Moscow
                                         found that                                                                                                                                                        of the Criminal Code. This makes it
                                                                                                                                                                                                           more difficult to investigate and pros-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           ecute recruiters, and to aid victims,
found this translation contract in
Cyprus and I let her go,” he said in a
telephone interview on Monday.
                                         Oxana’s                                                                                                                                                           said Churkina.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               “There is only article 127.1 of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Criminal Code, which stipulates up to
“When she arrived they cancelled
her translation contract and made
her sign a dancing contract.”
                                         status                                                                                                                                                            15 years in prison for human traffick-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           ing,” she said.

    “Oxana didn’t expect that she
would have to work as a dancer, and
she especially did not expect that she
                                         was legal                                                                                                                                                         Rehabilitation centres closed
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Russian NGOs also lack funding to
                                                                                                                                                                                                           help the victims, said Alyona Arlashk-
would have to perform [sexual serv-                                                                                                                                                                        ina, director of the Angel Coalition,
ices],” Lyudmila Churkina, Rantsev’s     [which] were forwarded to the                                                                                                                                     which helps trafficking victims re-
lawyer, said by telephone last week      Cypriot authorities” and requested a                                                                                                                              cover. Last year alone, nine rehabilita-
from Strasbourg, where she ad-           new investigation, the Strasbourg                                                                                                                                 tion centres operated by the NGO in
dressed a PACE committee that aims       court said in its ruling.                                                                                                                                         Russia were closed.
to combat human trafficking.                Cyprus said initially that the 2001                                                                                                                               “If relatives asked us, we would
    A week after starting work,          ruling was final.                                                                                                                                                 try to find the victim abroad and help
Oxana fled, after leaving a note with                                                                                                                                                                      her get home,” she said, noting that
fellow dancers that said: “I’m tired.    Going after the ‘recruiters’                                                                                                                                      after counselling victims were much
I’m leaving for Russia.”                    Based on his own investigations,                                                                                                                               more likely to speak to law enforce-
                                         Rantsev believes his daughter may                                                                                                                                 ment agencies.
No help from police                      have been killed “for refusing to                                                                                                                                    During the 1990s, an estimated
   Nine days later, in the early hours   grant sexual services”.                                                                                                                                           500,000 Russian and Ukrainian
of March 28, 2001, Marios Athana-           Apart from seeking justice for his                                                                                                                             women were trafficked into Europe,
siou, the manager of the nightclub,      daughter in Cyprus, Rantsev also                                                                                                                                  according to the International
Zigos Cabaret, found her in a disco      went after the “recruiters” who                                                                                                                                   Organisation for Migration,
and took her to the police. He hoped     hired Oxana in Chelyabinsk.                                                                                                                                       a multinational non-profit
to have her deported so that he          But Russian law enforcement                                                                                                                                       organisation that monitors
could get another dancer to replace      agencies have yet to respond.               FALSE GLAMOUR – A nightclub in Moscow                                                                                 trafficking. n

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