Forms of human trafficking and exploitation

Humans are being traded for the following purposes:

a)     Sexual exploitation

b)     Labor exploitation

c)      Transplanting of organs.

Of humans trafficked worldwide, according to the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), nearly 60 percent are sexually exploited, over 30 percent experience labor exploitation, and almost 10 percent are exploited in other ways.

Traffickers take advantage of people’s poverty and lack of prospects to lure or trick them through false promises of work or prospective marriages. Once the victims arrive at the final destination they are forced, through threats, violence or debt bondage (for example, to cover travel expenses), into a state of dependency and  exploitation. 

Common Forms of Human Trafficking and Exploitation in Switzerland:

Human trafficking – Facilitation of prostitution / forced prostitution

To induct underage persons (persons who are younger than eighteen) into prostitution is a crime liable to prosecution.

So are the following: constricting a sex worker’s freedom of action, controlling how they pursue their trade, forcing unwanted practices, and promising work or a prospective marriage to coerce someone into prostitution.


Loverboys are traffickers and procurers (often underage) who operate via social media and lead minors to believe that they are in love with them. As soon as they establish a dependent relationship, the Loverboy leads its victim into prostituiton or crimes. The victims are usually between the years of 12 and 18, however they can be older too. Foreigners as well as Swiss citizens are affected.

Forced labor and labor exploitation

Many victims are often unaware that they are being exploited. A low payment, the absence of legal documents and contracts, or a secluded workplace can indicate a case of exploitation. The person concerned will likely be unaware of their situation and has to pay high fees to an alleged application agency in order to pay off fictitious debts.

Organized begging

Swiss cities are regularly populated with foreign children, youth, and adults who beg, disguised as street musicians. In more rural regions they beg by going door-to-door. In addition, they occasionally commit crimes. A Svengali collects their garnered funds on a regular basis. The beggars only receive food, something to drink and a place to sleep. In a lot of cases it is impossible for victims to free themselves from such a situation.

Forced marriages

The free consent of a spouse is a human right. Still women and men are forced into marriages, even in Switzerland. Forced marriages, which are often entangled with transnational and parental customs, are, however, a crime against fundamental human rights. Forced marriage is by Swiss law a crime liable to prosecution.