Conference on child begging and trafficking in children

Bern, Press release, 31.03.2010

Swiss cities, such as Bern, Zurich, Geneva, and Basel, find themselves confronted with a surge in organised begging in the streets. There are also many children to be found among the groups of beggars originating primarily from Romania. The well-founded suspicion exists that there is a link between the begging scene and trafficking in children. With the objective of developing strategies to solve this problem, FDFA Political Affairs Division IV Human Security, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the Coordination Centre against Human Trafficking and Smuggling invited specialists from Switzerland and abroad to a meeting in Bern.

The exploitation of minors obliged to engage in begging is a form of trafficking in human beings that has confronted the competent authorities with new challenges. Not only are the investigation authorities called upon to develop effective procedures to identify the young victims and to prove the suspicion of child trafficking, but child protection authorities and migration officers are also obliged to react to this phenomenon with adequate victim protection measures, lodging, and repatriation mechanisms. In this connection, a pivotal concern is the cooperation of the Swiss authorities with the corresponding offices in the children’s countries of origin so as to ensure that under-aged victims are safely and attentively repatriated and re-inserted into society.  

Drawing from the experiences made by the Austrian authorities in dealing with the phenomenon of child begging and trafficking in children, the event aimed at the development of effective strategies for investigating cases of child exploitation in the context of organised begging and at ensuring the safe repatriation of the young victims. The presence of the competent Romanian authorities as well as the responsible federal and cantonal offices facilitated a discussion rooted in practice and led to new approaches for cooperation.  

Conferences of this type are organised on a regular basis in order to enhance international cooperation to counter human trafficking.

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs