Putin submits criminal code amendments toughening punishment for slave trade

Vladimir Putin has submitted amendments to the criminal code, toughening punishment for slave trade, to the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament), the President announced at a government session in the Kremlin.

The amendments are a system of norms envisaging strict punishment for slave trade, especially in children, and the use of slavery, the Russian leader pointed out.

Slave trade is part of international organised crime, Putin said. Today it is one of the most serious and urgent problems, which is also topical for Russia, he added.

"More and more Russian citizens are becoming victims of these cynical crimes, first of all they are women and children," the President emphasised.

"According to expert estimates, organised criminal groups earn dozens of millions of dollars by slave trade," he said. "Undoubtedly, these means, alongside the returns from drug and arms trade, form the financial basis of international terrorism," the Russian leader concluded.

"The Russian criminal legislation lacks systematic regulation of this problem, which creates possibilities of unpunished development of such a dangerous crime as slave trade," Putin pointed out. The introduced amendments are meant to bridge this gap in the legislation, he said.

The amendments envisage rather tough sanctions on different articles, up to 15 years of imprisonment, the President announced.

The law will punish those who make money out of exploitation, and not the victims, Putin emphasised.

The Russian head of state asked heads of law-enforcement structures to pay the most serious attention to these problems and to use all means and opportunities under the law to fight against this evil.

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