Oct 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Ministry announced the launch of an online training module, designed to enhance capacities of officials attached to Sri Lanka Missions abroad on combating human trafficking.
The training module was launched on 9 October 2018 at the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) in Colombo.
The module, prepared by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be a part of the BIDTI's Electronic Learning Space. The Government of Australia has supported the initiative with financial assistance.
At the launch, the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam noted that human trafficking "is a scar on our sense of common humanity and is an injustice to human beings."
He further said that "human trafficking endangers people's health; and is linked to organized crime and many criminal activities" and the first steps in stopping trafficking lies in the ability of being able to spot trafficking and incidents of trafficking. In this regard, this training module has been designed to assist officers stationed at Sri Lanka Missions overseas to be properly equipped to identify, assist and protect victims of human trafficking.
"It is our hope that this training will help them acquire the basic skills to respond effectively and with sensitivity when they encounter potential victims of trafficking," the Secretary added. He also stressed the importance of building partnerships in combating trafficking.
Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms W.M.M.R. Adikari, in her capacity as the Chair of the National Task Force (NTF) against Human Trafficking, reiterated the necessity to strengthen the coordination between key government agencies in combating trafficking in persons. The NTF, since its establishment in 2010, has been an effective inter-agency mechanism through which Sri Lankan government institutions share information, intelligence and best practices in addressing the crime of human trafficking, both within the borders of Sri Lanka and beyond.
In this e-learning platform, a total of seven modules have been developed to provide officers with a basic understanding of the crime of human trafficking including, and how it differs from, smuggling. The modules also explain the related legal framework, relevant international processes and Conventions, how to effectively identify and interview potential victims, refer cases for assistance, protection and ensure victims' safe return, and further elaborates on the role and responsibilities of consular and diplomatic staff in this regard.
The High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson, addressing the event appreciated Sri Lanka's cooperation in combating trafficking in persons, and highlighted Sri Lanka's consistently strong role as a member of the Bali Process against human trafficking. The Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime offers a regional platform for Asia-Pacific countries for policy dialogue, information sharing and practical cooperation. Australia is also a key bilateral partner of Sri Lanka in developing capacities of several government institutions, including the Ministry of Justice, Department of Immigration and Emigration, and the Sri Lanka Navy, on addressing the issues of human trafficking and people smuggling.
Chief of Mission of the IOM in Sri Lanka Guiseppe Crocetti noted that the content of the module is based on a counter trafficking training manual and forms part of IOM Sri Lanka's "Combating Trafficking in Persons through a Public Information Campaign" project.
Director General of the BIDTI Ambassador Pamela Deen said that the BIDTI, as the Training Arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to host this important module in its Electronic Learning Space.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken a proactive role in addressing the issue of human trafficking in recent years and due to the combined efforts of relevant government institutions, Sri Lanka has succeeded in retaining its Tier 2 ranking in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report in 2018, for the second consecutive year.