For the past five years, he has conducted research in three distinct but interrelated fields: a) illegal drug trafficking and policies, b) cross-border organized and corporate crime, and c) ‘green’ criminology.

On drug trafficking and policies, after completing follow-up research on cocaine trafficking through the port of Rotterdam (Zaitch 2002d, 2003e, 2009e) and on synthetic drug production and trafficking in Amsterdam (Blickman et al 2003), he researched and published on alternative drug policies in Latin America (Zaitch 2008b, 2009d, 2011, 2012), focusing particularly on how to apply a harm reduction approach to the illegal drug production and trafficking. He co-supervises three PhD projects in this terrain: one on Nigerian cocaine traffickers in Brazil and China, one on doping networks in the Netherlands and Belgium, and one on the legalization of cannabis production and trade in Uruguay.

A second field of enquiry relates to old and new forms of cross-border organized and corporate crime. Recent research includes studies on organ trafficking (Ambagtsheer et al 2011, 2012, 2013), online hooliganism (Zaitch and De Leeuw 2010), cybercrime (Mitrakas and Zaitch 2006, 2009), women trafficking (Zaitch and Staring 2007, 2008, 2009; Siegel and Zaitch 2013), organized crime policies (Zaitch 2006a, Zaitch et al 2007) and on organized crime theory (Zaitch 2009a, Van de Bunt et al 2013). Research activities in this field are framed within CIROC (Centre for Information and Research on Organized Crime), a network of leading Dutch scholars also involved in knowledge dissemination of organized crime research results. In this field he co-supervise(d) three PhD projects on male and child prostitution in Bogotá, on Islamic fundamentalism and radicalization in the Netherlands, and on the criminalization of the squatting movement in Amsterdam.

A third, more recent line of research relates to the field of green criminology and focuses on the crimes and harms around the exploitation of natural resources, mainly in Latin America (Zaitch et al 2013). This research takes place in the framework of the NWO CoCooN project LAR (Lands and Rights in Troubled Waters) that will run until 2014 and focuses on Colombia and Brazil. Publications in this terrain are planned on soy production and export from Brazil and on gold mining by multinational corporations in Colombia. In this area he co-supervises three PhD projects (all three focusing on Colombia) on the palm-oil industry in the Southern part of the country, on transnational corporations and environmental rights violations from an international law perspective, and on mining and paramilitarism in Colombia.