In its second report on Switzerland, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) welcomes the progress made by Switzerland, but also requests the Swiss authorities to take further action soon to improve the identification and protection of victims of trafficking.
GRETA notes that progress has been made since its first report on Switzerland in 2015, including the adoption of the second National Action Plan to Fight Human Trafficking (2017-2020), training for officials, the launch of campaigns to raise awareness among the public and medical staff, and the increase in the number of places in shelters providing specialised assistance to victims of trafficking, including men. There has also been an increase in the number of victims granted State compensation and in the number of criminal investigations for human trafficking.
GRETA recommends, however, that Switzerland ensure that a formalised victim identification procedure is put in place in all cantons, so that victims of trafficking can benefit from the appropriate assistance and protection; and that Switzerland do more to identify victims of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, by reinforcing the capacity and training of labour inspectors and involving trade unions in the work of the cantonal roundtables on human trafficking.
The report pays particular attention to potential child victims of trafficking. Firstly, Switzerland must improve efforts to prevent trafficking of unaccompanied or separated children by providing suitable safe accommodation and adequate supervision, as well as systematically carrying out police investigations into disappearances of children.
Secondly, outreach work needs to be stepped up and efforts made to provide further capacity-building to stakeholders (police, NGOs, child protection authorities, social workers) as well as guidance for the identification of child victims of THB for different purposes, including the exploitation of begging and exploitation of criminal activities.
GRETA points out that all victims under Swiss jurisdiction, including asylum seekers and persons exploited abroad but identified in Switzerland, must benefit from assistance measures.It also asks that the authorities adopt provisions or guidance on the non-punishment of victims of trafficking for their involvement in unlawful activities, to the extent that they were compelled to do so. Public prosecutors should receive appropriate training to this effect.