Switzerland hosts the 4th INTERPOL Global Conference on Human Trafficking

Press Release, fedpol, 19.10.2016

Berne. Fighting human trafficking is at the center of discussions at the 4th INTERPOL Global Conference taking place from today until Friday in Lugano. The conference, which Switzerland is hosting for the first time, is a result of close co-operation between INTERPOL, fedpol and the canton of Ticino. It brings together experts from around the world to discuss the current challenges in fighting this evil crime. Combating human trafficking in Switzerland is one of the priorities of the Federal Council’s law enforcement strategy. Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, is also attending the conference.

Human trafficking is a complex crime that goes beyond national borders. International police co-operation is therefore one of the cornerstones in fighting this crime effectively. Over the next three days, the 4th INTERPOL Global Conference will provide an opportunity for experts, investigators and NGO delegates to come together, strengthen contacts and discuss ways of preventing trafficking.

Giving victims a face

Human trafficking is a sad reality that also affects Switzerland. The conference, hosted by Switzerland for the first time, is an opportunity to highlight the importance of a uniform approach to fighting this crime. Only through coordinated efforts can the perpetrators be identified and the victims protected. A daily challenge for investigators is identifying victims because these people are frightened to testify for fear of reprisals. Fighting human trafficking therefore gives victims a face, provides them with protection and allows them to exercise their rights. It is one of the priorities of the Federal Council’s law enforcement strategy for the legislative period 2016-2019.

The role of fedpol

fedpol plays a coordinative role in fighting human trafficking. It provides support to cantonal police forces, who are responsible for investigations, and ensures the exchange of information with INTERPOL, a key partner. Together with its cantonal and federal partners, and with NGOs, fedpol has developed a nationwide strategy in the form of a national action plan for tackling the problem of human trafficking.

The situation in Ticino

As a north-south transit region bordering Italy, the canton of Ticino has been affected by human trafficking since the early nineteen-nineties; first resulting from the Balkans conflict, then from the exploitation of prostitutes, and more recently from migration flows out of Africa. The Cantonal Police of Ticino therefore established a Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit back in 2005. The unit is composed of police and law enforcement officers, and deals with cases involving human trafficking, sexual exploitation, usury and the violation of the Foreign Nationals Act.

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