A modern day form of Slavery
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), each year approximately two and a half million people are victims of human trafficking. Amongst them, 80% are women and girls. According to estimations of the Swiss Federal Office of Police, between 1500 and 3000 persons are trafficked to Switzerland every year. This might underestimate the real amplitude of this phenomenon.
Trafficking of human beings represents a modern day form of slavery as well as a very lucrative market with benefits estimated up to 35 billion US dollars every year. In other words, human trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world, together with trafficking of drugs and weapons.
Women searching for a better future for themselves and their families are often the prime targets. Many are promised secure job opportunities abroad by the traffickers, only to arrive at their destination to be faced with exploitation and forced labor, often in the field of prostitution. Debt-bound, threatened and submitted to violence, victims of trafficking are often unable to escape from this situation.
When arrested by the police, the women are often sent back to their countries of origin. Even if they are clearly identified as victims of trafficking they are not granted a permit to remain in the country. The few who agree to testify against the perpetrators are allowed to stay in Switzerland for the duration of the procedure and, afterwards, sent back to their country where they are likely to face stigmatization and vengeance acts. In only very few cases are victims granted a long-term residence permit.
In various districts (Cantons), local authorities and organisations providing assistance to the victims have met to debate and discuss the issue further. Some have developed cooperation conventions which enable them to better fight against trafficking and to improve victim protection. However, this exists only in a few districts.
The only Center dedicated to counseling women victims of trafficking in Switzerland is still not recognized as a victim’s support centre.
What is trafficking in women?
Trafficking in women is
- when a women decided to migrate on the basis of false promises;
- when she has to pay commissions for intermediaries and/or other services;
- when violence or deceit are used against her;
- when she is caught in a situation of constraint in the destination country.
More information on trafficking in women
Analysis of the situation in the Swiss cantons (in French and German)
Comme le démontre l'analyse par canton élaboré par la campagne «Euro 08 contre la traite des femmes», la situation dans les cantons est très diverse : Le fait qu'une femme soit identifiée comme victime de la traite des femmes dépend à l'heure actuelle avant tout du canton dans lequel elle se retrouve en contact avec les autorités.
Analyse par canton (pdf)
Eine von der Kampagne «Euro 08 gegen Frauenhandel» erarbeitete Analyse zur Situation in den Kantonen zeigt auf, dass die Praxis der Kantone sehr unterschiedlich ist: Ob eine von Frauenhandel betroffene Frau überhaupt als solche identifiziert und entsprechend geschützt wird, hängt heute vor allem davon ab, in welchem Kanton sie mit den Behörden in Kontakt kommt.
Analyse der Situation in den Kantonen (pdf)
FIZ which also includes FIZ-Makasi, is the only service in Switzerland specialised in female victims of trafficking. FIZ Makasi aims to improve victim protection, and enables them access to their basic rights as well as it aims to restrain trafficking of women in Switzerland.
Beyond crime, sex and stigmatization.
Beyond crime, sex and stigmatization. Thesis on Trafficking in Human Beings, Human Rights and Migration. Article published in the magazine «Widerspruch» 1/2007
pdf in German
pdf in French
pdf in Italian
Human Trafficking and Forced Prostitution around Big Events?
A presentation of Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, co-president of the campaign «Euro 08 against Trafficking in Women» and Member of Parliament. June 2007
Human Trafficking around Big Events? (pdf in German)
Acting against trafficking in women - the role of men
Newsletter no. 41 of the FIZ – Women’s Information Center for women from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, November 2007
Newsletter FIZ (pdf - in German)
Selling Hope and Stealing Dreams
Extract of the «State of World Population 2006» report of the United Nations Population Fund.
Selling Hope and Stealing Dreams: Trafficking in Women (pdf)
ETH – International Relations and Security Network
The January newsletter of the International Relations and Security Network has many interesting and pertinent web-links on the topic of Trafficking in Women.
ISN Info: Special Issue of the Month January 2007