Moscow: A farmer in Russia has been detained for apparently using at least 20 laborers as slaves at his farm, police told.

Police freed 19 workers illegally held at a farm near Voronezh city in central Russia's Voronezh region after a missing person, beaten and burned, showed up at a hospital.

The 37-year-old laborer, missing since February, told police he had been forcibly brought to the farm about two months ago and made to take care of the cattle.

The interior ministry's local office said, “The 33-year-old farm owner forced at least 20 people to work as slaves, beat them and prevented them from leaving”.

The laborer tried to escape but was caught and brutally beaten by farm guards. They later brought him to a hospital to prevent his death. After a few days in intensive care, the man told police what had happened.

The farmer faces up to five years in prison.