The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday in favor of a group of Bosnians who sued Azerbaijan more than a decade ago for cross-border human trafficking and forced labor.

Seudin Zoletić, one of the victims of forced labor in Azerbaijan. (Photo: OCCRP)Between 2006 and 2009, hundreds of workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and North Macedonia were lured to Azerbaijan with promises of pay substantially higher than what they could earn at home.

Among them was Seudin Zoletić, who travelled to Azerbaijan for what he thought would be a profitable construction job with the Serbaz Design and Construction Company. Instead, he  became a virtual prisoner, working without pay in deplorable conditions on a big state project.

Many others were beaten, humiliated and also forced to work on construction projects under harsh conditions for a small salary or none at all.