The mother of a 16-year-old Kyrgyz girl who alleged to Current Time Asia that she was kidnapped to work in a brothel in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, says that she has been threatened after widespread media coverage about her daughter’s case.
The allegations of the girl, whose name has not been released for security reasons, and the investigation itself illustrate the challenges often faced in Central Asia when attempting to hold suspected sex traffickers accountable.
On the evening of January 26, three unknown men and a woman reportedly burst into the house of the girl’s mother in Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul region, said the girl’s lawyer, Ainura Osmonaliyeva, an attorney at the Adilet Legal Clinic, a human-rights watchdog. The group demanded that the teenager withdraw her criminal complaint about the brothel.
The four individuals told the mother that if the complaint is not withdrawn, “they will talk with her in another way,” said Osmonaliyeva. The mother, whose identity also has not been made public, intends to file a police complaint about the threat, the attorney added.
The girl’s mother “was very frightened because these people were yelling at her. They didn’t let her phone anyone,” claimed the teenager’s aunt, with whom she now lives in Bishkek. “These people knew all the information” about the case, added the aunt, whose identity also has not been publicized.
A complaint was first filed about the girl’s alleged kidnapping and forced prostitution on November 21, but police responded slowly, Osmoaliyeva reported. Following Current Time Asia’s January 22 broadcast and coverage by other media outlets, however, Bishkek police launched a criminal investigation into the girl’s allegations that she was enticed into prostitution (Article 166 of Kyrgyzstan’s Criminal Code) and kidnapped (Article 170).
They detained three suspects on the prostitution charges,but have not yet
found suspects for the alleged kidnapping. Investigators are still looking for the brothel’s owners.
Bishkek police spokeswoman Ulana Dzhumakova stated on January 27 that “investigative measures” are now underway and that law enforcement will provide additional information later.
The building named in the case as the brothel in question is located directly across from a district police station, not far from Bishkek’s Osh Market. Police earlier had sealed shut the facility’s doors, but, as of January 27, that seal had been removed.
The girl alleges that she spent two weeks in the brothel after being kidnapped from the town of Karakol. She claims that she was repeatedly raped and beaten in the brothel. Another 11 women also worked there, including at least one against her will, she said.
Most of the teenager’s relatives believe that the case should be hushed up to avoid disgracing the family, her aunt said.