Jun 20, Washington, DC: Although the Sri Lankan government of does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it is making significant efforts and took strong preventive measures last year, the United States said in a report on global human trafficking.
The 2012 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released Tuesday by the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton placed Sri Lanka among Tier 2 countries. The 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report analyzed 186 countries by looking at what the governments are doing against human trafficking which is defined as modern day slavery.
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.
The report said Sri Lanka is primarily a source for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and Internally-displaced persons, war widows, and unregistered female migrants remained particularly vulnerable to human trafficking.
While pointing out that the government did not convict any trafficking offenders during the past year, the report noted that the government convicted two labor recruitment agents who committed fraudulent recruitment offenses, and enhanced inter-ministerial coordination through monthly meetings.
According to the 2012 TIP Report the government's law enforcement response to human trafficking offenses was minimal during the reporting period. Although the government agencies including National Child Protection Authority and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) investigated 44 cases of trafficking in 2011, the government has not convicted any human trafficking offenders in the reporting period.
"Serious problems remain, particularly in protecting victims of trafficking in Sri Lanka and abroad, and not addressing official complicity in human trafficking," the report noted.
Government employees' complicity in trafficking remained a problem, it said, highlighting that law enforcement officials themselves are involved in trafficking accepting bribes to operate brothels.
"The government made limited progress in protecting victims of trafficking during the year," the TIP report said adding that the government has not yet established a trafficking shelter with International Organization of Migration (IOM).
However, the report recognized that government made progress in its efforts to prevent trafficking during the last year.
The government has worked on several awareness-raising initiatives with the International Labor Organization (ILO) such as developing a handbook for migrants bound for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait including information on the relevant labor laws, descriptions of forced labor and trafficking, and contact information.
The 2012 TIP Report inter alia recommended the Sri Lankan government to improve efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders, particularly those responsible for recruiting victims with fraudulent offers of employment and excessive commission fees for the purpose of subjecting them to forced labor.
Both under the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and under the United Nations Palermo Protocol, the protocol to monitor and combat trafficking in persons from the year 2000, human trafficking is defined as modern day slavery.
Read the Sri Lanka portion of the report