U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Switzerland

Switzerland (Tier 2)

Switzerland is primarily a destination country, and secondarily a transit country, for women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation from Central Europe (Hungary, Slovakia, Romania), the former Soviet Union (Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova), Latin America (Brazil, Dominican Republic), Asia (Thailand, Cambodia) and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Both police and NGOs noted increased trafficking from Brazil over the last year, though overall numbers of trafficking victims appeared to stay level.

The Government of Switzerland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Draft legislation that will encompass trafficking for labor exploitation and strengthen penalties awaits Parliament's approval. The federal government instructed cantonal authorities to grant trafficking victims a 30-day stay of deportation, which has decreased the practice of rapid deportation of potential trafficking victims. The Swiss Government should consider expanding its prevention efforts to domestic trafficking awareness, anti-demand campaigns. Sentences imposed on traffickers remained low.


The Swiss Government sustained its anti-trafficking enforcement efforts during the reporting period. According to the most recent enforcement statistics, from 2003, authorities convicted 12 individuals for trafficking and forced prostitution. Five of those convicted received suspended prison sentences of less than a year. The Swiss Penal Code has two articles that prohibit trafficking in persons with sufficiently severe penalties, both of which focus on sexual exploitation and forced prostitution. In 2003, the Swiss Government drafted a revision to the penal code to explicitly prohibit forced labor and strengthen trafficking penalties; the draft legislation was submitted to parliament in March 2005. Swiss authorities are active in international law enforcement activities and took the lead in coordinating 21 international trafficking investigations. Swiss Government officials did not facilitate or condone trafficking.


Switzerland's efforts to protect and assist trafficking victims improved in 2004. Under federal guidelines sent to cantonal immigration authorities in August 2004, authorities must grant trafficking victims a 30-day minimum stay of deportation. They may also provide victims willing to cooperate with judicial authorities stays of deportation up to three months, or short-term residency permits if the criminal investigation takes longer. Preliminary statistics show that between August and December of 2004, cantonal authorities granted at least 26 trafficking victims stays of deportation and granted an additional 18 victims short-term residency permits, seven of which included a permit to work. Swiss law entitles trafficking victims to secure shelter as well as medical, psychological, social, and legal assistance, regardless of their residency status. During 2003, the most recent statistics available, 64 trafficking victims received assistance from publicly funded victim assistance centers. The government continued to partially fund Zurich's leading anti-trafficking NGO. Zurich formalized its victim referral mechanism in a letter of intent between the NGO and local law enforcement officials. Other urban centers have started to follow this lead by instituting roundtable meetings between NGOs and law enforcement.


Switzerland's anti-trafficking coordination unit (KSMM), located within the Federal Office of Police, continued to coordinate and monitor Switzerland's anti-trafficking efforts. While KSMM provided three trafficking awareness programs to local officials during the reporting period, specialized training at the cantonal level remained uneven. The Government of Switzerland funded several anti-trafficking information and education campaigns around the world. It organized and financed a Ukrainian anti-trafficking delegation to Bern for an information exchange. In 2004, the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided specialized training to its consular staff and distributed trafficking awareness information to visa applicants in local languages, directed especially at those applying for entertainer visas. The Swiss Government did not conduct domestic demand-reduction programs.


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