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60 Nigerians brought to Russia for World Cup ask for help

AP  |  Moscow 

About 60 Nigerian men who say they entered on the pretext of being Cup fans camped outside their country's embassy in today asking for help.

Sofiya Dukhovnaya, an activist with the group Alternativa, told the men arrived in using a legal loophole posing as Cup fans.

An agency in sold them Cup fan identification cards that allowed them to enter without a visa and promised them work. But it was clear that the men were not in Russia for the because they didn't know which matches their national team was playing or even how many players were on the team, according to Dukhovnaya.

Once in Russia, the men realized they had been lied to. There were no jobs lined up for them, their return tickets turned out to be fake and they very quickly ran out of money and couldn't afford and shelter.

"They were hoping to find work and improve their lives," Dukhovnaya said.

said the promised help, but did little for the men. The group tried feeding some of the men and putting them up in hostels, but as more and more came, ran out of resources and could not support them all.

Besides the 60 men who showed up near the embassy in today, rights activists believe there are dozens more in and around

Nigerian addressed the men on Friday and promised to provide them with and shelter while he looks for a way to get them home.

The did not respond to a request for further comment. said Nigerian men are not the only ones who have been trafficked into Russia for She said her group was able to identify several women brought here for sexual exploitation.

said yesterday that foreign nationals who for some reason don't have the money to buy return tickets need to turn to their embassies for help.

"Practices of human trafficking are in opposition to FIFA's own values," said Friday. "The competence to address issues related to human trafficking, like any other criminal activity, is with the relevant national and international authorities (policy, judicial and governmental), and welcomes the steps that are taken in that respect."

referred a question about the loopholes in its Fan ID system to the Russian Communications Ministry, which did not immediately respond to emailed questions.

The Fan ID system was designed to offer to ticket holders, but fans quickly found the same ticket number could be used to apply for multiple IDs and even numbers from expired tickets could be used. In some cases, people appear to have used their Fan IDs to enter Russia as a stepping stone in attempts to migrate to countries.

Organisers of in said Monday they were considering copying the Fan ID system for their event as a security measure.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 22:35 IST