Public awareness crucial to combat human trafficking - Thalatha
September 6, 2017 04:47 pm
Minister of Justice and Foreign Employment, Thalatha Athukorala stated that the Government had made significant progress in the combating of human trafficking in Sri Lanka.
According to the Minister, the Government has ratified the UN Trafficking Protocol, established dedicated anti-human trafficking units within the Bureau of Foreign Employment, established a Government-run shelter for victims, and adopted the standard operating procedures for the identification, protection and referral of victims of human trafficking, all in an effort to combat the organized crime that is human trafficking, which is often referred to as “a form of modern slavery”
She explained that it was an offense punishable under the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, and added that human trafficking took place mainly for labour and sexual exploitation.
“Sri Lanka is becoming both a source and destination country for human trafficking,” she said.
However, she proceeded to say that the Government had made significant progress, and that the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons report had upgraded Sri Lanka to the second tier as a result.
“But more work needs to be done,” she added, explaining that creating adequate awareness among the public was crucial to combat the issue.
She said that the government had already taken steps to raise awareness at district and provincial levels as well as community based organizations.
Addressing the media, she said that the media also played an important role in “disseminating information on human trafficking through their media channels, as it takes a whole-of-society approach to combat human trafficking”.