Serbia is ranked third in Europe according to the Global Organized Crime Index for the year 2023.
Out of 193 world countries Serbia is ranked 40th.
The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) presented on its website the Global Organized Crime Index.
It said that organized crime levels are rising at the global level and that 83 percent of the global population live in countries with high levels of criminality.
The GI-TOC report reads that Serbia continues to be a source, transit, and destination country for victims of human trafficking.
“Serbian women and children are subjected to sex trafficking, including child marriage, in neighbouring countries, while men are usually trafficked for forced labour, mainly in the construction industry,” it said.
The report added that foreign male workers, mainly from Vietnam and India, are reportedly encountering forced labour in Serbia.
“Online sexual exploitation, especially of children, is a common cyber-enabled human trafficking crime in Serbia, and it increased in frequency during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as traffickers adapted their operations and shifted to online recruitment methods such as social media outlets,” said the report.
It added that human smuggling is a long-running issue in Serbia because of the country’s location on the Balkan migrant route.
“A recent increase in the number of irregular migrants in Serbia has led to a subsequent increase in human smuggling and in the number of criminal groups involved in these activities. Consequently, armed conflicts among people smuggling groups have escalated. Tighter controls on the borders with Croatia and Hungary have led to the emergence of new informal routes that run via Serbia and Montenegro into Bosnia and Herzegovina (west) or from Serbia into Bulgaria and Romania (east). Human smuggling victims in Serbia originate mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Syria. Crime bosses usually manage operations from outside the country, and while most smugglers share the nationality of their victims, local criminals often deal with internal transport and irregular border crossings,” it said.
Extortion is widespread but underestimated in Serbia, said the report authors.
“It is common for individuals to extort relatively small sums of money from people in difficult financial situations through loan sharking. In many cases, so-called hooligan criminal groups that operate private security companies will extort restaurants or clubs for protection money. Victims generally do not notify the authorities about such crimes, for fear of repercussions, and the phenomenon remains largely underreported,” reads the report on Serbia by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.