Swiss National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking 2023–2027
You can download this document here. & In German. & In French.
Does human trafficking exist in Switzerland? ‘Not that I know of’ or ‘no’ is usually the reply, for peo- ple believe that in Switzerland – an affluent country where the rule of law prevails – there is neither the need nor the opportunity to traffic or exploit human beings. The reality is somewhat different, however. Switzerland is indeed affected by human trafficking and there are huge profits to be made from it. However, like everywhere else, it takes place covertly and in different forms, which is why it is so difficult to detect, both by the public and law enforcement authorities.
Human trafficking is a criminal offence (Art. 182 SCC). It restricts victims’ freedom of choice and ac- tion, and poses a threat to their mental and physical integrity. It is therefore the responsibility of the law enforcement authorities to identify and prosecute the perpetrators and to protect the victims.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has repeatedly ruled that human trafficking violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). If a person’s human rights have been violated, the state concerned must mitigate the harm. From this arises the obligation of the state to identify in- stances of human trafficking and to ensure that victims receive help.
Switzerland has ratified various international treaties to combat human trafficking, such as the Coun- cil of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Convention is of key im- portance to Switzerland because it takes a victim-centred and human rights-based approach. The recommendations of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), which monitors the implementation of the Convention, have had a significant impact on Switzer- land’s anti-trafficking efforts in recent years.
Switzerland takes a multidisciplinary approach to fighting human trafficking. The approach is based on four pillars: prevention, prosecution, victim protection and cooperation. Following international ‘best practices’, Switzerland has been developing national action plans (NAPs) since 2011. These NAPs contain effective measures that are implemented by stakeholders at all three levels of govern- ment.
An important starting point for this latest NAP – Switzerland’s third – was the evaluation of the 2017- 2020 NAP.1 The aim of the evaluation was to assess how well the previous NAP had been imple- mented and to optimise anti-human trafficking measures.
The 2023–2027 NAP creates a common understanding of combating human trafficking in Switzerland and the roles of government bodies and civil society. It is a testament to Switzerland’s commitment to continue and strengthen its whole system approach, which is aimed at bringing perpetrators – male and female – to justice and at better protecting victims.
This document presents Switzerland’s strategy and framework for action in the coming years in an open and transparent manner. Our politicians regularly submit motions2 demanding improvements in combating human trafficking: this NAP is a response to their concerns.