Petition requiring amnesty for a victim of human trafficking
We are inviting you to support the petition requiring amnesty for a woman, victim of human trafficking, sentenced to imprisonment of 18 years. Milica is currently serving this severe prison sentence – she has been in prison for 4.5 years now, deprived of the possibility to raise her 8-year old daughter and live together with her family. Milica Sokolović was identified as the victim of trafficking in 2012.
During the period of 11 years – from 1995 until 2006, Milica was exposed to brutal abuse, various forms of psychological and physical violence, forced to commit crimes both in Serbia and abroad for the purpose of material gain for her trafficker. According to official data, since the beginning of anti-trafficking effort in the Republic of Serbia, Milica Sokolović is the victim with the longest period of exploitation ever. During her exploitation in Germany, Milica witnessed the murder of a German national in 1999 for which she was accused and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Fearing for her safety and safety of her family, under pressure and threats from the trafficker, at the beginning of the trial Milica took the blame for the murder. After the pressure weakened, Milica changed her statement and told what had really happened, thus explaining that she did not committed the murder.
In accordance with the Agreement on Legal Aid in Criminal Matters between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Germany, the process against Milica was conducted in Serbia for 11 years. During the trial, Milica was reporting that she was under permanent threats and blackmails from the traffickers who forced her to give statements in court as they told her, for which reason she changed her statement several times. The court did not take these circumstances under consideration, although it is well known that trafficked persons most often must act as traffickers tell them, as a result of fear generated during a long period of abuse and torture. The Pancevo Higher Court rendered a judgment in 2010 founding Milica guilty of murder of the German citizen and sentencing her to 18 year imprisonment. The Court of Appeal in Novi Sad revoked this judgment in 2011 and returned the case for retrial. In renewed proceedings the Pancevo Higher Court issued the same judgment on May 5th, 2013 – Milica was found guilty and sentenced to prison term of 18 years. The Court of Appeal in Novi Sad confirmed this judgment.
The Republic of Serbia signed and ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in which convention trafficking in human beings is defined as the gravest violation of human rights and an offence to the dignity and the integrity of the human being. During the trial, the circumstances relating to Milica’s status of a trafficked person were not taken into account as well as the consequences Milica has encountered as a result of 11 years of exploitation, constant life in fear and the trauma she survived which to a great extent affected her statements. Instead, after eleven years of abuse, Milica was convicted and sentenced to 18 years. Further, the man who committed the murder was never prosecuted.
With this petition, we want to help Milica return to her family which has always been supporting her and to enable Milica’s six-year daughter have normal childhood which is the right of every child.
We are inviting you to join the petition and support Milica Sokolović, victim of human trafficking, thus giving her a chance to spend the rest of her life with her child. The petition will be sent to President Tomislav Nikolić together with the request for amnesty of Milica Sokolović.
NVO ASTRA Contact the author of the petition