“The Federal Council decided to make these changes further to various Parliamentary discussions and a desire to ratify the European Convention for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse,” a spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Justice, told The Local.
As required by the convention, Switzerland will now make it a crime to pay for sexual services from a minor. The minor, on the other hand, will not be subject to prosecution.
Since they had already reached the age of sexual consent, the law did not previously make any allowances for 16 and 17-year-old prostitutes.
“In earlier times, people were not so sensitive to the prostitution of young people. But the issue has come more into people’s consciousness, including at the UN level, so there is now a general movement in law aimed at better protection,” the spokeswoman said.
Promoting the prostitution of minors will now also become an offence. Anyone who facilitates the prostitution of minors with the aim of making money, such as brothel owners and pimps, will be liable for ten years in prison.
“It is hard to say how many people will be affected by the new changes. Prostitution of young people is usually not public, and so there are no official statistics,” the spokeswoman said.