Notorious Balkan Trafficker Gets Four Years

Four years in jail for trafficking 11 Moldovan women and forcing them into prostitution? Eh, that’s not so bad. Especially for someone as infamous as Milivoje Zarubica, who is often referred to as the kingpin of human trafficking in the Balkans and has successfully eluded authorities since his conviction back in 2005. Now let’s do the math. Zarubica is getting roughly 4.5 months for each victim he trafficked — at least for those he was convicted of trafficking, because there are certainly many more out there.

Is this justice? I don’t think so. Where’s the disincentive? Don’t we punish criminals in an attempt to dissuade them (and others) from committing such crimes in the future? All Serbia is giving him is a little slap on the wrist. Maybe in the future, he’ll just think twice about getting caught.

But now consider this: Zarubica is also wanted in Italy, where he was convicted in November 2008 for human trafficking and associating with the mafia. The Italian courts have sentenced him to 17 years behind bars and hit him with a €150,000 fine, approximately $206,370. This looks more like justice.

Zarubica’s case clearly highlights the different approaches and agendas in the fight to combat human trafficking. I wonder, though, if this means that the Serbian government doesn’t really see human trafficking as a major crime. Do they even see it as a crime at all? While Italy is part of the European Union, which has gone to great lengths to impose strict laws on human trafficking, Serbia, a country that’s looking to join the EU in the not-too-distant future, should probably get its act together and follow suit. How can you justify jailing someone for only four years after they have ruined the lives of so many innocent women? Doesn’t that seem wrong in any way?

We’re going to have a difficult time eradicating human trafficking if governments can’t get on the same page and create stronger legislation that all countries are urged to abide by. It’s especially important for countries in close proximity to those with high rates of trafficking, as they often serve as key transfer points along route to the final destination.

So after Zarubica finishes his four-year stint in Serbia, let’s hope the Italians want him to serve out his sentence for them. Otherwise, I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of the Balkan trafficking king …

Photo credit: Caitlinator


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Good information. Now that is what I want. Hope everyone is having a great day!

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