Human trafficking is a lucrative business that yields high profits. Moreover, the likelihood of a conviction is small because limited resources are available for law enforcement and victim assistance. In addition, evidence often does not hold up in court, and sentences in Switzerland are relatively mild compared to other countries.

Perpetrators are both Swiss and foreign nationals, whereby foreign perpetrators usually have the same nationality as the victims. Human traffickers are mainly male, but women have also been convicted; these are usually women who at some point have been exploited themselves, but become accomplices by taking on supervisory tasks within an organisation.

Human traffickers in Switzerland are usually individuals or belong to small family or ethnic groups. There are isolated cases of organised crime syndicates being involved too, however.

Human trafficking often occurs in conjunction with other types of crime such as encouraging prostitution, document forgery, drug offences and violations of the Foreign Nationals Act.

Number of convictions 1)
(Source: Federal Statistical Office FSO, statistics on convictions)

  Human trafficking
(since 2006 Art. 182 , formerly 196, SCC)
Encouraging prostitution
(Art. 195 SCC)
2000 5 23
2001 2 19
2002 2 11
2003 7 7
2004 2 12
2005 12 17
2006 5 18
2007 9
2008 11 14
2009 11
2010 6 8
2011 10 15
2012 13 19
2013 13 22
2014 15 26
2015 19 14
2016 11 3

1) The statistics on adult convictions (SUS) is based on judgements recorded in the Register of Criminal Convictions. Convictions are only recorded once the judgement comes into effect. The processing of possible appeals may, however, take several years and if the conviction is affirmed it is recorded in the Register of Criminal Convictions under the date of first instance. For this reason, several years may be necessary for  all pronounced judgements of a given year to be recorded in the Register of Criminal Convictions and to appear in the statistics. Furthermore, the time series for recent years are not relevant; it cannot be assumed that the figures are already complete.


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