• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Brothel owner jailed for human trafficking

Malcolm Curtis · 29 May 2013, 20:00

Published: 29 May 2013 20:00 GMT+02:00

A 38-year-old Turkish man was jailed by a Seeland-Jura regional court following a trial along with three associates who were found to have lesser culpability, with one of them accused of drug trafficking charges.

The former owner of a brothel in Nidau (canton of Bern) was found guilty of buying women, largely from Romania, and forcing them into prostitution, the court heard earlier, the ATS news agency reported.

The women — around 45 were involved — were forced either to work in the man’s house of ill repute or in bars around German-speaking Switzerland during a period between 2004 and 2007.

The women worked up to 11 hours a day, six or seven days a week, the prosecutor said, ATS reported.

Entering Switzerland as tourists, they were kept under constant surveillance by the brothel owner’s associates.

The owner also resorted to violence, threatening and hitting some of the women to instil a climate of terror, the prosecutor said.

The convicted man, who first came to Switzerland as an asylum seeker at the age of 20, denied the charges, ATS said.

He maintained that his female employees had exercised their activities “with pleasure” and that he did not have enough places to accommodate all the applicants who wanted to work for him.

The Turk was arrested in 2007 after a total of 200 police officers took part in an operation to counter human trafficking in Nidau and in Tuggen in the canton of Schwyz.

The prosecutor sought a ten-year jail term against him.

The federal government has announced plans to crack down on such human trafficking, although support groups say not enough funding is made available to help victims.

Story continues below…

Every year, an assistance centre for human trafficking victims in Zurich aids 200 people, most of them women.

Government funding to help integrate former prostitutes into society is insufficient, say groups such as Amnesty International Switzerland and the Swiss organization for refugee aid.

A recent move to raise the age of legal prostitution from 16 to 18 was welcomed after Switzerland faced international pressure over the issue.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
MPs say yes to cash for Switzerland’s 'slave kids'
Victims of historic abuse during the handover of a petition as part of "Repair", a public initiative calling for justice for victims of abuse in Bern in 2014. Photo: AFP

For decades, Swiss children were taken from their homes and forced to work as cheap labour. Some were sexually abused or underwent forced sterilization.

Swiss alpinist finds body of US climbing legend Alex Lowe
Speed Speed climber Steck (pictured) and his colleague David Göttler found the remains of Alex Lowe. Photo: AFP

Swiss mountain climber Ueli Steck has found the body of Alex Lowe more than 16 years after the American was buried by an avalanche in the Himalayas.

Hot stuff: Swiss winter was second warmest on record
Tourists ski on a thin layer of snow towards the resort of Leysin on December 28th. Photo: AFP

Only the winter of 2006/07 was warmer.

Family matters
Swiss canton boosts paternity leave to 5 days
Switzerland lags behind other European countries on the paternity leave issue. File photo: AFP

The move will send a positive message to the rest of Switzerland, supporters said before the vote.

Tour de Romandie
Cycling: Quintana wins Tour de Romandie
The Tour de Romandie is seen as a warm up and testing ground for the Tour de France. Photo: AFP

Colombian climber Nairo Quintana of the Movistar team won the Tour de Romandie on Sunday after a breakaway win in the fifth and final stage over 177.4km from Ollon-sur-Villars to Geneva on Sunday for local talent Michael Albasini.

Rogue weasel shuts down Switzerland's Hadron Collider
It will take a few days to repair the damage caused by the weasel, which did not survive its high-voltage encounter. Photo: AFP

The world's most powerful particle smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, went offline after a weasel caused a short circuit on a high-voltage transformer.

Anger as Basel pool bans 'maxi burqinis'
Australian model Mecca Laalaa in a tight-fitting Islamic swimsuit, or burqini. File photo: AFP

What lies behind controversial rule changes at a pool in the Swiss city of Basel?

Swiss region to shield tourists from 'killer cows'
File photo: Caroline Bishop

The tourist area of Laax in south-eastern Switzerland will install fences to ensure no one is attacked by protective mother cows this summer.

Football corruption: Platini faces make-or-break hearing

UPDATED: Uefa's fallen chief Michel Platini says he is optimistic a Swiss court will clear his name.

Arrested: teen who rolled joint outside police station
The two boys claimed “not to have realised they were in a police zone. File photo: AFP

Two teens in the Swiss town of Winterthur have been arrested after they were spotted rolling a joint on the grounds of a police station.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Society
Swiss parliament snubs plan for two weeks paternity leave
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
File photo: Giovanni Blank
Lifestyle
Fathers should share parental leave, says commission
Photo: eGuide Travel
Society
Dictator-tracker spices up Geneva planespotting
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Politics
Swiss army ready to act in worst case migrant scenario
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Photo: Robert Zingg/Zurich Zoo
Lifestyle
Druk the elephant hauled to her feet by Zurich fire brigade
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Sport
Swiss champion snowboarder Estelle Balet killed by avalanche
Photo: Andreas Omvik/Zurich Tourism
Culture
Swiss 'groundhog day' forecasts lousy summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose International Health Insurance
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Technology
'Love-making couch' among inventions at Geneva show
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Society
Bank blacklists Swiss travel agent named Isis
Photo: Julien Gregario
National
Italian research student slain in Geneva street
Photo: Philippe Merle/AFP
Features
New Chaplin museum set in star's own 'Downton Abbey'
Photo: Gary Minnaert
Lifestyle
Name traditions still sway married Swiss women despite law change
Photo: Stephan Ridgway
Government eyes hefty fines for littering
Photo: Swiss Tourism
National
Revealed: the richest regions in Switzerland
Photo: Swiss National Bank
National
Switzerland's new 50 franc note: what you need to know
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Society
VIDEO: Swiss farmer's cows leap for joy of spring
Politics
Automatic expulsion of criminal foreigners rejected at the ballot box
National
UK's Duchess of York seeks to become resident of Verbier
National
City of Geneva to translate information into English
National
Female guard at prison near Zurich 'helped Syrian flee jail'
National
Swiss residential real estate 'bubble risk' continues to rise
4,505
jobs available