Six thousand Swiss ‘contract children’ paid compensation by the government
Some 6,000 claims for compensation for victims of forced labour and abuse have been dealt with, according to the Federal Office of Justice.
The claims were filed after the Swiss government agreed to pay up to CHF25,000 in compensation to people who, as children, were victims of forced labour policies or placed in institutions, often suffering abuse or neglect.
The victims were ‘Verdingkinder’, or ‘contract children’, used as cheap labour on farms and in homes in Switzerland from the 1850s until the second half of the 20th Century. The practice carried on in some places until 1981 and saw tens of thousands of children and teenagers forcibly removed from their families, who authorities deemed to be incapable of caring for them.
More than 9,000 claims for compensation have been filed by former ‘contract children’.
Around 12,000 - 15,000 victims are estimated to still be alive.