The government is facing calls by parliament to outlaw the genital mutilation of women and girls.
The Senate unanimously agreed to ask the government to prepare an amendment to the criminal law. The House of Representatives approved a similar proposal last December.
Those found guilty of carrying out or encouraging female circumcision will face up to ten years in prison or will have to pay substantial fines regardless of whether the criminal act was committed in Switzerland or abroad.
Piercings and tattoos will not be considered punishable offences.
During Tuesday’s debate Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said it was crucial to step up prevention and raise awareness of the mutilation issue.
There are an estimated 6,700 women and girls in Switzerland who are victims of genital mutilation according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef.
In 2008 a Zurich court found a couple from Somalia guilty of causing bodily injury to their daughter in the first case of genital mutilation to come before judges in Switzerland.