Council of Europe Recommendations to Switzerland on Fighting Human Trafficking

Press Release, fedpol, 14.10.2015

Berne. The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) today published its first evaluation report on Switzerland’s implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Switzerland welcomes the report’s conclusion, that Switzerland has taken important steps to combat human trafficking. GRETA recommends that Switzerland strengthen its efforts to address trafficking in children and trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation. It also recommends improving the procedure for identifying trafficking victims.

The GRETA report assesses Switzerland’s progress in fighting human trafficking and welcomes the steps taken, particularly by introducing co-ordination of relevant actors at the federal and international level. The report identifies areas where further action is needed. Key recommendations by the group include:

  • Increasing efforts to identify human trafficking victims
  • Intensifying the fight against human trafficking for the purpose of exploiting labour, in particular by training labour inspectors and developing tools for identifying forced labour
  • Enhancing the protection of child victims in accordance with the best interests of the child 
  • Improving mechanisms for identifying trafficking victims in the asylum procedure
  • Developing co-operation mechanisms against human trafficking in all cantons

During the evaluation procedure GRETA worked closely with the Swiss authorities and civil society, integrating their comments on the draft version of the report into its final evaluation.

The Permanent Secretariat of the Swiss Co-ordination Unit against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (KSMM) assisted the co-operation between the Swiss authorities, NGOs and GRETA. The KSMM Steering Committee will consider GRETA’s proposals and take them into account when drawing up its new National Action Plan against Human Trafficking.

GRETA and the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings entered into force in 2008 and is the first legally binding instrument in Europe for preventing human trafficking. Switzerland was the 38th council member to ratify the convention, which became effective there on 1 April 2013. The convention is aimed at combating all forms of human trafficking, both at national and transnational level.

GRETA was established in 2009 and is composed of a maximum of 15 independent experts who evaluate the implementation of the provisions of the convention in the individual member states. Representatives from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and representatives of parties to the convention which are not members of the council together make up the Committee of the Parties, which will formally approve the recommendations of the final evaluation report on 30 November 2015.

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