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Exploited people Swiss ‘could do more’ against human trafficking

Construction sites could hide exploited workers


The fight against human trafficking in Switzerland is being hampered by a lack of coordination between cantons, according to a Council of Europe report on the alpine state.

Despite overall good marks from the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), Switzerland still has work to do in some areas. This also includes better identification of victims of human trafficking and providing more shelters, especially for male victims.

“While most cantons have established anti-trafficking co-ordination mechanisms, there is currently no co-ordination mechanism in eight cantons,” GRETA said on Wednesday. “There are no shelters for male victims of trafficking, and no facilities specifically adapted to accommodating and protecting trafficked children.”

“The particular vulnerability of children to trafficking should also be adequately addressed by adopting identification and assistance measures that take into account their specific needs,” the report added.

The body also urged increased cooperation with trade unions to stamp out trafficking in the work place.

Figures don't reveal all

Zurich-based NGO FIZ welcomed the findings of the report. “So far, hardly any cases [of human trafficking] have been detected in construction sites, restaurants and the domestic work place,” the organisation said. “Many asylum seekers, whose insecure and desperate situation is often exploited by traffickers, go undetected.”

FIZ demanded that all victims of human trafficking should be protected regardless of nationality and immigration status.

Official statistics show that 35 victims of human trafficking were detected in Switzerland last year. In 2013 this number was 44 and the year before that, 61. But the Swiss federal authorities have admitted that the real number of victims may be far higher.

On a positive note, GRETA praised Switzerland for criminalizing human trafficking and for its international cooperation in supporting prevention of trafficking in countries of origin.

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