A 58-year-old woman from Ialoveni will spend seven years in prison for exploiting a fellow citizen in practicing begging in Russia. She was sentenced with imprisonment of the 2nd of November by the Central Court.

According to the case materials from the first half of October 2013, the defendant Zapescu Sofia, being in Chisinau with a few other people (a man who was sentenced in the same case), recruited a fellow citizen, with the pretext of employment in a well-paid job in Moscow, Russian Federation, in the field of constructions. In reality, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the victim, who was in a very difficult social situation, the defendant together with other people wanted to exploit the woman by practicing begging on the territory of Russia, in conditions similar to slavery.

On October 24th, 2013, the victim was sent to Moscow by bus, accompanied by those who will then exploit her for other purposes than what they promised. From Moscow, the victim was transported to the town Kazani in Russia. At the destination, they took her away her documents and forced her to go begging on the streets of that town, by applying physical and psychological violence, till December of 2013.

During the additional hearing in court, the victims said that she was asked by the defendant to give false testimony (that she wasn’t hit or forced to beg) in exchange for 7 thousand lei.

The victim also stated that she was forced to beg in a wheelchair, around churches or traffic lights. The money were then taken by the defendant and another man, Ivan Doicu, who is also sentenced in this case. Later, the victim managed to escape to Moscow, where she got a temporary passport and returned to Moldova.

Although she did not plead guilty, Sofia Zapescu was sentenced to seven years in prison for human trafficking. The sentence in this case can be appealed by the lawyers at the Court of Appeal.

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