Last year, the proportion of human trafficking victims who are also asylum seekers tripled in the Zurich region, according to annual figures released on Tuesday.
The FIZexternal link Advocacy and Support for Migrant Women association, located in Zurich city, handled 228 cases of human trafficking in 2017, according to its report, published on Monday.
The proportion of victims that were also asylum seekers rose from 10% to 34%, the report found.
This significant increase has also influenced the overall demographics of human trafficking. Since 2008, a clear majority of human trafficking victims in Zurich came from Hungary; however, the number of victims from Nigeria has increased steadily since 2016, and last year the West African country was on par with Hungary with 15% of new cases coming from each country.
Of the 228 cases handled by FIZ last year, 111 were new, and 117 concerned victims of previous years. Of the new cases, one third concerned asylum seekers, one tenth of them involving minors. Around one-quarter were involved in sex work.
In southern Switzerland, notably Lausanne, Nigerian women were again the most affected, and again a sizeable number were asylum applicants.
According to the Romandie Association for the Victims of Trafficking and Exploitation (ASTREE), of the 49 women helped by their canton Vaud branch, 11 were Nigerians, while 16 were asylum seekers. Some 37 of the women were victims of forced prostitution.
In Geneva, where the Protestant Social Centre released their figures, 38 women were helped last year, four of them from Nigeria.