OCTOBER 2002

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Suspects Arrested On Charges Of Shipping Russian Women To America For Work In Strip Clubs
From Kurier
August 27 2002

Three suspects, accused of organizing and shipping women from Russia to the United States for forced labor in strip clubs were arrested in New York on August 27.

Naturalized Americans Lev Trachtenberg and his wife Victoria Il’yina, as well as Russian citizen Sergey Mal’chikov, found themselves behind bars. All three were arrested on Tuesday in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City.

The official accusation, which was read at the time of the arrest, states that the suspects’ criminal involvement began in November 1999 and has continued through the present. According to federal prosecutor Leslie Schwartz, at least 30 women fell prey to the evildoers.

"The women knew that they were coming here to dance, but did not know that they would have to perform nude," said Schwartz after the arrest. Those who found themselves practically enslaved were told that their families, which remain in Russia, would be physically harmed if they did not agree to come out onto the dance floor. The women were forced to pay $1,200 to Trachtenberg and Il’yina each week.

Sergey Mal’chikov brought the women from Brooklyn, where they lived, to clubs in New Jersey, where he helped them make money, all the while making threats concerning their families.

According to a report aired on Tuesday evening by the radio station "Ten-ten wins," Trachtenberg arranged for visas which are usually given out to entertainers for the women he brought.

All three suspects are accused on two charges of organized criminal conspiracy, each of which could result in a prison sentence of up to five years. In addition, the suspects are facing five charges on submitting the women to forced labor and five charges on transporting the women across the U.S. border for the purpose of forcing them to work. On these charges each of the three members of the criminal band face up to 20 years in prison.

The investigation of the suspects is being carried out jointly by the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Services, and New York’s police department.

Translated from Russian by Katya Kumkova-Wolpert

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