Sri Lanka upgraded to Tier 2 in human trafficking report

Sri Lanka upgraded to Tier 2 in human trafficking report

Sri Lanka has been upgraded to Tier 2 in the annual human trafficking report issued by the United States.

The report says the Government of Sri Lanka does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.

However, the Government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti trafficking capacity; therefore Sri Lanka was upgraded to Tier 2.

These efforts included slightly increasing investigations, including of several Sri Lankan officials allegedly involved in child trafficking, and establishing a specialized unit to strengthen trafficking investigations.

The Government identified more victims, including among migrant workers exploited abroad.

The Government also increased coordination among agencies to further implementation of the 2021-2025 national action plan (NAP).

The Government expanded its trafficking hotline services to include online support for referrals.

In addition, the Government secured a new shelter location to accommodate victims of crime, including trafficking victims.

However, the report says the Government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.

The Government prosecuted fewer trafficking cases, and sentences for convicted traffickers remained inadequate. Law enforcement efforts against labor trafficking were disproportionately low compared with the number of identified labor trafficking victims.

The capacity of local officials to identify trafficking victims remained low, especially among women in commercial sex. The Government did not effectively address vulnerabilities to trafficking faced by migrant workers, including high worker-paid recruitment fees, largely unregulated sub-agents, and policies and procedures that undermined safe and legal migration. (Colombo Gazette)

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