Record number of human-trafficking cases reported

Nearly 60% of people who called FIZ's counselling centre for migrant women were sex workers Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

More than 300 victims of human trafficking in Switzerland received support last year from the “Advocacy and Support for Migrant Women and Victims of Trafficking” (FIZ) service.

This content was published on May 17, 2021 - 13:28

This is a “sad record”, FIZ said in its annual reportExternal link on Monday. There had been 255 cases in 2019.

The majority of trafficking victims are women, said the Zurich-based organisation, which also helps men and transgender people. It said its victim protection programme had helped more than 300 people from 57 countries – mostly Nigeria, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Congo and Serbia – escape exploitation and violence.

The Covid-19 pandemic had created social isolation and led to the cancellation of language courses and employment opportunities, it explained. The need for psychosocial support and counselling had therefore increased.

Due to the pandemic, FIZ increased the number of beds in the shelters and organised additional accommodation to prevent infections.

Counselling centre

FIZ’s other service, a counselling centre for migrant women, received 705 people in 2020, compared with 377 the previous year.

Nearly 60% of them were sex workers, mainly from Latin America and Eastern Europe. The pandemic left most of them without income overnight. They were unable to pay their health insurance contributions or rent or buy food.

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