Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Switzerland

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 4 June 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Switzerland, 4 June 2008, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Switzerland is primarily a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women trafficked from Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine, Moldova, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Cameroon for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Swiss authorities noted an increase in the number of women trafficked from Eastern Europe, specifically Romania, for sexual exploitation. Limited cases of trafficking for the purpose of domestic servitude and labor exploitation also were reported.

The Government of Switzerland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In January 2008, a new Swiss federal law entered into force granting trafficking victims a stay of deportation proceedings and strengthening the legal status of trafficking victims and witnesses. The Swiss Police Academy also held two anti-trafficking training classes for police officers from around the country. The government provided $1.4 million to international organizations and NGOs to provide victim assistance and conduct awareness efforts in source countries.

Recommendations for Switzerland: Increase the number of convicted traffickers serving time in prison; continue to provide training for Border Guard officials to improve identification of potential victims; continue to improve the collection of trafficking law enforcement data; and sustain efforts after the 2008 European Soccer Cup to reduce the domestic demand for commercial sex acts.


The Government of Switzerland demonstrated anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Switzerland prohibits both trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labor exploitation under the new Article 182 of the Swiss penal code, which prescribes penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment and are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, authorities conducted at least 28 investigations, down from 39 in 2006. Authorities reported preliminary data of at least nine prosecutions in 2007, compared to 20 prosecutions reported in 2006. Courts reported convicting nine traffickers in 2007, compared to 20 reported convictions in 2006. Of those reported convicted, one trafficker was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment and one trafficker was sentenced to 2.5 years' imprisonment; the remaining seven traffickers received suspended sentences or a fine and served no time in prison. In comparison, six of 20 trafficking offenders convicted in 2006 were reportedly given imposed sentences of between two to four years' imprisonment while 13 traffickers reportedly served no time in prison. During the reporting period, the Swiss Federal Office of Police reorganized and hired new staff to increase efforts to fight trafficking in persons.


The government continued to improve its victim protection efforts during the reporting period. In January 2008, a new Swiss federal law entered into force, formalizing a 30-day reflection period for victims of trafficking and authorizing the Swiss federal government to assist victims logistically and financially with repatriation to their countries of origin. In 2007, cantonal immigration authorities offered 33 trafficking victims 30-day reflection periods, compared to 39 victims in 2006. Six victims were offered short-term residency permits to stay in Switzerland for the duration of the legal proceedings against their traffickers, compared to three in 2006. Four victims were granted long-term residency permits on the grounds of personal hardship, compared to three in 2006. The Swiss government continued funding for NGOs to provide victim assistance services and shelter for victims. In 2006, the most recent year for which information was available, 80 victims received government-funded assistance compared to 126 victims reported from the previous year. In 2006, at least 65 victims assisted law enforcement by testifying against their traffickers. Ten out of 26 cantons have a formal procedure for victim identification and referral. Victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked.


Switzerland continued its prevention efforts in 2007. The government again funded NGOs to carry out prevention campaigns in various countries including Cambodia, Mongolia, Burma, Moldova, Russia, and Lebanon. The Government of Switzerland provided anti-trafficking training to its troops being deployed abroad as international peacekeepers and maintained its zero-tolerance policy regarding any acts of sexual exploitation committed by these military personnel. Although the Swiss Border Guard monitored migration patterns for evidence of trafficking, authorities reported difficulty with identifying potential victims at border check-points. The government partially funded an NGO-run public awareness campaign targeting male clients of commercial sex leading up to the European Soccer Cup in Summer 2008. During the reporting period, one Swiss national was charged with traveling to Madagascar for the purpose of child sex tourism. In another case, Swiss authorities assisted Cambodian officials with the investigation of a Swiss national who was later convicted of child sexual exploitation in Cambodia and sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment.

Switzerland tier ranking by year

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