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15 Mär 2024

Russia: Nepali & Indian workers recruited via YouTube without consent to Russian military to fight on 'frontlines in Ukraine'; incl. Google non-response

In March 2024, The Guardian released an article alleging migrant workers, largely from Nepal and India, are being recruited without their consent into the Russian military.

Workers describe being recruitment through social media – particularly YouTube (part of Google) – with promises of non-existent jobs. Some of the workers believed they were signing up for jobs in Dubai, only to be taken to Russia. Others signed up for jobs they believed to be safe, such as security guards. After arrival the workers were instead “taken to the frontlines” of the Russia-Ukraine war. Some of the workers recruited via YouTube died while fighting for the Russian army.

The article emphasises several workers in India cited the YouTube channel Baba Vlogs as one of the platforms recruiting workers under false promises to Russia. The channel is run by the Indian recruiter Faisal Khan, who told the Guardian he was misled by a Russian intermediary about the nature of the jobs he was sending workers too.

In March, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Google, as the parent company of YouTube, to respond to the article and to outline how it monitors and removes content in India, Nepal and other major migrant-sending countries recruiting migrants into the Russian army to fight in Ukraine. Google did not respond to the Resource Centre’s request for comment.