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  • Swissinfo

Giving people a second chance


Lucerne-born Matthias Oppliger (45) offers a new start to victims of human trafficking by employing them at his sewing business in Tel Aviv – a project that the Israeli government has got to know about.

Idea: It all began on a family holiday in Tel Aviv. During their time there, the Oppligers came up with the idea of creating jobs for former sex workers and other victims of human trafficking. Israel proved to be the perfect place to grow their new business.

Project: kite.pride makes bags and rucksacks out of used kite-surfing sails, parachutes, yacht sails, and wetsuits. In doing so, the company wants to give former victims of human trafficking a new start – by offering fair wages for fair work in a secure, exploitation-free environment.

Location: CEO and founder Matthias Oppliger chose a strategic location in southern Tel Aviv – in a neighbourhood plagued by the impact of human trafficking, where many former refugees now live. Many women from the former Soviet states end up here and are forced into prostitution.

Success story: Oppliger has a team of 15 employees and eight volunteers from all around the world. Not all of his workers have had a traumatic past. There are also volunteers, including from Switzerland, who come regularly to help – young people who want to do something worthwhile on holiday and use their time in Israel productively. “You get out what you put in,” says Oppliger. “That’s a wage worth working for.”

A full-length article about the project has been published (in German, French and Italian) at – the ten-language online service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. Do you also live abroad? Upload your Instagram pictures with the hashtag #WeAreSwissAbroad.