Human Trafficking Network Discovered

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Cuba has discovered a human trafficking network that was using its citizens to fight in the Russian Army.

The network was operating in Russia and Cuba itself. It is currently unclear if the Cubans were being conscripted against their will while in Russia. Reuters says:

Cuba has uncovered a human trafficking ring that has coerced its citizens to fight for Russia in the war in Ukraine, its foreign ministry said on Monday, adding that Cuban authorities were working to “neutralize and dismantle” the network.

The statement from Cuba’s foreign ministry gave few details, but noted the trafficking ring was operating both within the Caribbean island nation, thousands of miles from Moscow, and in Russia.

Cuba’s public response is particular surprising as it considers itself a Russia ally. It is illegal for Cubans to join foreign militaries. The Moscow Times continues:

“Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said, adding it would take action against anyone “who participates in any form of human trafficking for the purpose of recruitment or mercenarism for Cuban citizens to use arms against any country.”

Moscow and Havana have boosted ties recently, with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow at the end of last year.

It is also unclear if this Russian operation was sanctioned from the government. Despite its large size, Russia is suffering a manpower crisis as it refuses to issue a general mobilization. Conscripting a large part of the population to serve in a foreign war could have drastic effects on the a Russian government’s stability.

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