Switzerland is a target and transit country for human trafficking. Most victims are sexually exploited in prostitution circles. The exploitation of labour is thought to occur mainly in the domestic, agricultural, catering and construction sectors. Cases of human trafficking for the purpose of removing human organs are not known to have occurred to date.
Victims of sexual exploitation mainly originate from the following regions:
- Eastern Europe: Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria;
- Latin America: Brazil and the Dominican Republic;
- Asia: Thailand
- Africa: Nigeria and Cameroon.
Victims are usually female and between 17 – 25 years old.
Victims are frequently recruited by family members or friends, by faking a relationship/love affair, through job advertisements, by travel, marriage or job agencies, or even through violent abduction. Prompted by precarious economic and social living conditions in their country of origin, women succumb to the temptation of false promises of high earnings and better living conditions in Switzerland. Many travel to Switzerland in the knowledge and with the intention of prostituting themselves. However, they are deceived beforehand about the true circumstances and the exploitive working conditions.
Traffickers use various means to exercise control over their victims during the period of exploitation; they threaten to use violence towards the victims or their families, they confiscate the victims’ travel documents or wages, or threaten punishment if the victims do not abide by the conditions laid down by the traffickers.
Because human trafficking takes place furtively, it is difficult to estimate the number of victims in Switzerland. Statistics on human trafficking victims who have received help do, however, provide some indication of the numbers involved:
Victim assistance cases according to the Victim Assistance Act (Federal Statistical Office):
|according to art. 182 SPC||169||81||116||190||145||111||158|
|according to art. 195 SPC||84||99||90||115||114||97||123|
Number of people counselled by the specialised victim care agency FIZ Advocacy and Support for Migrant Women and Victims of Trafficking:
|according to art. 182 SPC||131||153||154||151||160||156||172|
|according to art. 195 SPC||55||40||55||47||17||22||10|
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