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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Held for Slave Labor at a Computer Club

A Chechen native and a homeless man from Sakhalin have been arrested on charges of forcing five mentally disabled young men to work for miserly wages at a computer club and taking their government-allotted apartments.

Ibragim Abrosimov, 34, a Grozny native, and Oleg Sterlikov, 42, a homeless man originally from Sakhalin, were arrested on March 31 on suspicion of having made the five men work for 11 months under threat of violence at a computer club called Blindazh on Ulitsa Dekabristov, near the Otradnoe metro station in northern Moscow, City Prosecutor's Office spokesman Sergei Marchenko said Tuesday.

The suspects made the young men, who grew up in local children's homes for the disabled, work at the computer club from August 2004 to June 2005, and they kept them in line by making a violent example of one who tried to escape.

"They shot one of the disabled men in the leg with a gas pistol to keep the rest of them in fear," Marchenko said.

Abrosimov had originally hired the young men with a promise of steady wages but instead paid them about 100 rubles (slightly more than $3) per day for cleaning the club and selling alcohol from behind the bar, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

Abrosimov and Sterlikov were also actively seeking opportunities to "sell" the disabled men to people interested in privatizing the apartments they had received from the government because of their disabilities, Marchenko said.

"Abrosimov demanded that one of the captives admit to a nonexistent $80,000 debt, which he then used to rent out his apartment and keep the proceeds for himself," Marchenko added.

Abrosimov has been charged with kidnapping, use of slave labor and extortion. Both suspects have been charged with attempting to organize a human-trafficking ring.

Calls to Blindazh went unanswered Tuesday.

In an interview with Channel One television last week, a police officer working on the case said Abrosimov and Sterlikov obtained information about their captives from other disabled young people who used to live in Moscow children's homes.

"I want to reiterate that the informers were not among the employees of the orphanages but rather among people who used to live there," said the officer, identified only as Alexei.

Marchenko said the disabled men were 22 years old to 24 years old.

If convicted of organizing a human-trafficking ring, the most serious charge, Abrosimov and Sterlikov face up to 10 years in prison each.