SL needs to do lot more to combat human trafficking: US

Saturday, 30 June 2018 00:58 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Washington, DC: The Government of Sri Lanka demonstrated increasing efforts to eliminate human trafficking although it does not meet fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, a United States report on human trafficking said.

The 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released on Thursday by the United States Department of State said the Government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, keeping the Nation among Tier 2 countries.

Tier 2 countries are the countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Highlighting the measures taken by the Government to eliminate human trafficking, such as identifying more potential trafficking victims and partnering with an international organisation to launch a national awareness campaign and train hundreds of local, district, and state officials and civil society members on victim identification and referral procedures, the report said the Government, however, did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.

For the fourth consecutive year, the courts did not convict any traffickers under the Government’s trafficking statute, the report noted.

The 2018 TIP report recommended the Government improve efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers, including complicit officials, and convict and punish offenders with sentences commensurate with other serious crimes.

Among other recommendations are:

- Increase efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims, and train officials on victim identification and referral procedures, especially to ensure victims are not detained or otherwise penalised for unlawful acts, such as immigration violations or prostitution, committed as a direct result of having been subjected to human trafficking

- Improve protection services to ensure identified victims, including men and children, receive specialised care services

- Take steps to eliminate all recruitment fees charged to workers by labour recruiters and instead ensure they are paid by employers

- Expand the foreign employment bureau’s (SLBFE) mandate to include the regulation of sub-agents

- Promote safe and legal migration and ensure migration regulations do not discriminate on the basis of gender

- Increase efforts of the task force to institutionalise sustained government coordination efforts