Voluntary migration becomes human trafficking when migrants are robbed of their rights. Most cases involve sexual exploitation or the exploitation of labour. The SDC is committed to improving human trafficking prevention, providing more effective protection for victims, and strengthening local capacities.
Human trafficking is a global problem that has become even more acute with the increasing globalization of the past twenty years. The poorer the countries concerned, the greater the recruiting opportunities for the illegal trafficker networks. The lucrative trade in people is particularly widespread in Latin America, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe. Target countries are generally the industrialized nations. The people who are caught up in human trafficking lose all their rights. They are abused in forced labour, sexually exploited, or have their organs removed illegally. Women and children aged between 13 and 18 are at the greatest risk.
|•||The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 2.4 million people worldwide are the victims of human trafficking – both domestically and internationally.|
|•||According to the estimates of the European Commission and the Organization for Security and Co-Ordination in Europe (OSCE), the number of women who are transferred from Central and Eastern Europe to Western Europe each year, and often forced into prostitution, stands at between 120,000 and 500,000.|
|•||Human trafficking, and especially the trade in women and children, is now one of the world's most lucrative businesses. The global human trafficking industry is thought to be worth between 7 and 35 billion US dollars.|
The traffickers themselves exploit the migrants' poverty and lack of prospects, as well as their hopes for a better future in their destination country, by feeding them false information and promises about opportunities for work or marriage. Migrants may enter the country legally or illegally. Often carrying heavy debts, they are then forced by intimidation or violence into dependency on their traffickers, and are abused. This is frequently referred to as modern slavery or bonded labour. While it may take differing and changing forms, the core elements of human trafficking remain: those affected find themselves under the control of another person and lose all rights to determine their own lives.
Human trafficking is an international problem that generally affects several states. The spread of this serious crime has been accelerated by easier travel and the use of the internet. Human trafficking can be curbed by better protection for its victims. In parallel to this, a greater effort must be made in respect of the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators, and awareness campaigns in the migrants' home countries. International cooperation is vital if human trafficking is to be combated effectively. As of 2010, however, this cooperation covers only certain areas of the problem, such as the trade in women, forced labour, and particular forms of slavery. Additional – and more comprehensive – conventions are therefore needed.
The SDC Focus
Switzerland condemns human trafficking as a serious violation of human rights. The SDC is tackling this problem, with a particular emphasis on Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus. The countries here are often states in which trafficking originates, or transit or destination countries. Specifically, the SDC's activities include:
Theme contact: Sophie Delessert
Additional Information and DocumentsDocuments
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