A Swiss court has sentenced a 58-year-old Thai woman to 10 and a half years behind bars for running a sex trafficking ring that saw 75 women and transgender Thais trafficked to Switzerland. It is one of the biggest cases of human trafficking in the country.
The Bern court found the woman guilty of human trafficking, promoting prostitution, incitement to illegal entry and residency in Switzerland, and money laundering. She operated the ring between 2010 and 2014 in several Swiss cantons.
The Local reports:
Most of the trafficking victims did not speak English and came from underprivileged environments in Thailand, the court ruling said.
The woman had promised them work in Switzerland and organised their visas and covered their travel costs.
Once they arrived in Switzerland, the victims were forced into prostitution to pay off their “travel debt”, which in some cases was as high as 30,000 Swiss francs ($30,200, €25,800), ATS said.
The chief justice in the case described a system that was “complex, well-organised and disdainful of human dignity,” ATS said.
The victims were trapped by their debt and by their illegal status in Switzerland, the court found, ruling that none of the 75 victims had willingly participated in the system.
The abuses left several of the victims with post traumatic stress. Some even contemplated suicide.
Prosecutors had asked for the woman to be jailed for 12 years, though her defense team argued that she only deserved six years.