Imadr Asia Committee
No. 1149A, Kotte Road, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka

Migration & Trafficking

Sri Lanka is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Sri Lankan men and women migrate willingly to KuwaitJordanSaudi ArabiaQatarLebanon, the United Arab EmiratesSingaporeHong KongMalaysia, and South Korea to work as construction workers, domestic servants, or garment factory workers. However, some find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and debt bondage that is, in some instances, facilitated by large pre-departure fees imposed by recruitment agents. Children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation and, less frequently, for forced labor. The designated Foreign Terrorist Organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to recruit, sometimes forcibly, children for use as soldiers in areas outside the Sri Lankan government’s control. Government security forces may also be complicit in letting a pro-government paramilitary organization recruit, sometimes forcibly, child soldiers. Reports also indicate that a small number of women from ThailandChinaRussia, and other countries of the Newly Independent States are trafficked into Sri Lanka for commercial sexual exploitation. In November 2007, over 100 Sri Lankan peacekeeping soldiers were repatriated based on accusations that they engaged in sexual misconduct, some cases involving minors, in Haiti. The Government of Sri Lanka does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Sri Lanka is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons over the previous year, particularly in the area of law enforcement.

The government failed to arrest, prosecute, or convict any person for trafficking offences and continued to punish some victims of trafficking for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. At the same time, Sri Lanka protected some victims of trafficking, including Sri Lankan nationals trafficked abroad. The government appointed a focal point on trafficking in persons in July, who convenes a monthly anti-trafficking working group to develop and coordinate anti-trafficking policy.[1] (This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.)