21:21, Thursday, 06.08.2020
ქართული English

Web Portal on Human Rights in Georgia

Advanced Search

26 Year Old Natia Sacrifices Her Health for the Illusion of a “High Paid Job”

26 Year Old Natia Sacrifices Her Health for the Illusion of a “High Paid Job”

In the winter of 2001, 26 year old Natia Bregvadze made an exhausting journey through a forest from Turkey to Greece, suffering 21 days’ without proper food. As a result of the terrible journey, she lost her hearing and came down with pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis. Now she is ready to cooperate with the investigation in order to disclose the people who promised to give “high paid jobs”, but instead inhumanely trafficked people to Turkey and Greece. In 2002, the Department for the Prevention of Human Health and Life Violations, within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, started a criminal case. However, when the investigation uncovered that the brother of an official at the ministry of Internal Affairs had backed the traffickers, the case was stopped.

“When I was 21, I decided to go to Greece to work there. I got introduced to Zaza Chuladze at my friend’s place, whose mother went to work in Greece using his help. Chuladze told me that if I paid him a sufficient amount of money he would send me to Greece too. He promised he would take me to Turkey himself and his friends in Istanbul would then send me to Greece”, recalls Natia Bregvadze. After this meeting, her family sold a house for 1500 US dollars and on December 2nd she left Georgia with Zaza Chuladze to go to Turkey by bus. 

The mother of Natia, Nino Akhoshvili, says that Zaza called her the next day and informed her that they had already arrived in Istanbul. “On December 3rd, we were in the capital of Turkey, where we met a Georgian, Manana Sosebashvili, and two Turkish men. We spent the night in a hotel called “Hazi”.

The next day I was taken to a house where I met nine other Georgians. Among them there was a young boy, whose parents apparently had not paid enough money. Zaza threatened not to take the boy to Greece and then a Turkish man came and took him away. In total, I was to pay 1500 US dollars for the service, and as Zaza told me I gave the rest of the money (1000 US dollars) to Manana  Sosebashvili. With this money, Manana bought some food for the people there, who as I later found out, had eaten nothing for a couple of days and were made to sleep on the floor during the cold winter nights.

They collected our passports. I could guess they were cheating us but could do nothing because we were not able to communicate or even move. I told Zaza and Manana that if they did not take me to Greece I would call the police in Turkey”. That evening the group was moved to a small village and later left in an isolated field.

“It was a night; they lit a candle and lead us to a hut, where we had tea. Later, we were asked to put on warm clothes, as we were to move on further.  A Turkish man asked us to follow him. It was a nasty weather and the wind was blowing. The Turkish man was walking so fast that we could not keep up with him so we had to throw away our bags. We could hardly move because of all the thorns and bushes that scratched us until we bled, but the Turkish man was shouting for us to follow him obediently and in silence. Eventually, we reached a narrow but deep river. Instead of a bridge, there was a tapered piece of iron that we used to cross the river.

This was not the end of the ordeal because then we arrived at the edge of a swamp. There were nine of us and some of the women could not stand it anymore. We were hungry, exhausted and thirsty. We ate only snow and a biscuit that one of the women discovered in her pocket and kindly shared with the others. Because of the unbearable cold we were trembling and shivering, our hands and legs were bleeding but we had to carry on. We then came upon a lake. The Turkish man got a lifeboat from his sack and ordered three of us to sit there and not move. We did not resist. To our astonishment, when he had brought all of the people to other side he departed, leaving us alone in despair”.     

The group kept on going and despite suffering fear, danger and hunger it finally reached the Greek border. Crossing the border illegally, the group managed to enter Aleksandropol and passed through Salonic to get to Athens.

“We separated in Athens; I tried unsuccessfully to find a job. I stayed in a hotel but had no money for food. At night, I used to steal some bread and cheese from the fridge and ate in the bathroom - fortunately, nobody could guess it was me. I was scared to go outside and walk in streets (although that might have made it easier to find a job) because I had no a passport. Instead, I remained indoors and did nothing but cry and weep. I called my mother to tell her everything and to warn her not to give Zaza any more money but I was too late. Zaza had threatened to send my mother my severed head if she did not pay him 200 dollars.

I finally met a women from Gurjaani in the hotel, who helped me to find a job. I took care of an elderly woman and was paid 350 dollars per month. But, I became very ill, I had constant temperature. The family I worked for bought a ticket to Georgia for me, I crossed the border between Greece and Turkey and eventually reached Georgia, where I was forced to pay out my last 10 dollars”, recalls Natia. She also said that she and other women were offered jobs as prostitutes, but some refused to do that.

The National Centre for Pneumonia diagnosed that Natia Bregvadze now suffers from tuberculosis, meningitis and pneumonia. She has also lost her hearing. Despite her difficult condition, she is ready to cooperate with law enforcers. She will identify the people who promised “high paying jobs” but instead illegally trafficked people to Turkey and Greece.

According to Natia’s mother, the Department for the Prevention of Human Health and Life Violations within the Ministry of Internal Affairs started a criminal case. However, when the investigation discovered that the brother of an official at the Ministry of Internal Affairs supported the traffickers, the investigation was stopped.

“I applied to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and an investigation was started. I also visited the families of the women in Zhinvali who were together with Natia. They asked me not to mention their names, because they still have debts to pay and are scared that their relatives will be deported from Greece. Since then I have applied to the Department for the Prevention of Human Health and Life Violations within the Ministry of Internal Affairs several times but there was no response regarding this case. Later, it became known that high officials and their relatives backed and supported the trafficking business”, says the mother.

A doctor says that Natia now needs permanent medical treatment and a good care. Unfortunately, the family lives in a rented flat and none of the family members have jobs so they cannot afford this. “We also have a house in the region but if there was an emergency, Natia might not be able to get proper treatment there. There might also be other dangers to her life. I asked everybody I could for help, but in vain”, explains Nino Akhoshvili.

We managed to get the telephone numbers of Zaza Chuladze and his friend Tengo, but we could not get through to them.

The Public Relations department at the Ministry of Internal Affairs has no information on whether the Department for the Prevention of Human Health and Life Violations still exists. Furthermore, the head of the press service, Guram Donadze, did not answer our telephone calls.

Gela Mtivlishvili from Kakheti

Print Send to Friend Send to Facebook Tweet This
Leave your comment
Your name:
Your comment:

Security code: Code
Are there political prisoners in Georgia currently?
yes No I do not know


Another proposal on agreement
The society knows that since December 2017 I have a court dispute with the Tbilisi City Hall and the Georgian Water Distribution Company
Women – victims of violence
ცხოვრება ეჭვისა და უნდობლობის სამყაროში


Forgotten by government veterans
Every year, fewer and fewer veterans of the World War II meet the Victory Day. The society receives information about them only on
Villages of the Hopeless
What happened to Dream of Justice Revival?


Copyright © 2004 - 2020 HRIDC