TBILISI, DFWatch – 22 Georgians have become victim of human trafficking in Turkey.

Georgian media reports that Lasha Navareli, a mediator, promised the men, who are from the village Alaverdi near Zestaponi, that they would be employed in Turkey with a salary of 1 200 lari.

But then Navareli took all 22 to Istanbul, took away their identity papers and locked them in a cellar. But the Georgians managed to send one short SMS that they were subject to forced labor and their life was in danger. Employers demanded USD 2 000 to release them.

Georgian diplomats in Turkey a few days ago found the place were the trafficking victims lived. They say that they were locked in a cellar and were being held at gun point, but now they are in good health.

Police have arrested the Turkish employers and launched an investigation.

Those affected left Georgia on July 25 together with the mediator, but it is unknown where Navareli is right now.

There was a revelation in April of Georgians being trafficked to Turkey https://dfwatch.net/georgians-victim-of-human-trafficking-in-turkey-19837. Later the U.S. State Department published a report about trafficking, and dedicated one chapter to Georgia, according to which Georgia is “a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking and men and women subjected to conditions of forced labor”, along with many other countries. https://dfwatch.net/u-s-state-department-says-georgia-is-site-of-human-trafficking-99022