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Prostitutes used to promote organised crime

Organised crime is using prostitution to increase its illegal activities in Switzerland. Keystone

Prostitution in Switzerland is becoming increasingly criminalised, according to the federal police authorities. They say organised crime is behind a rise in the number of prostitutes working illegally.

This content was published on September 14, 2000 - 14:55

The police statement, issued on Thursday, said criminals are increasingly using prostitutes to expand their illegal activities, such as weapons and drug dealing, and the smuggling of illegal immigrants.

It added that many of the women are illegal immigrants, who have entered Switzerland on tourist visas.

Police said a common strategy used by Russian criminals was to send a female relative to work in a Swiss cabaret club and there meet a Swiss man, whom they would arrange to marry. This would enable the prostitute's relations to come to Switzerland legally.

In other cases, police said Swiss men were paid to marry women abroad and bring them back to Switzerland, where they were forced into prostitution by organised crime.

Police said clamping down on these criminals was difficult because victims were reluctant to report such crimes to the authorities. They added that Switzerland had no witness protection programme to encourage women to come forward.

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