Pursuing all avenues for repatriation of Sri Lankans trafficked into Myanmar - Foreign Ministry

Pursuing all avenues for repatriation of Sri Lankans trafficked into Myanmar - Foreign Ministry

February 23, 2024   10:10 pm

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Myanmar continues to make every effort to rescue and repatriate the Sri Lankan nationals who have become victims of human trafficking and are trapped in Myanmar, the ministry said in a statement.

These Sri Lankans have been coerced into various online scams in multiple locations within the Myawaddy area of Myanmar, under the pretext of legitimate job offers in the IT field. 

Foreign Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry took this issue up with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, requesting urgent intervention to rescue Sri Lankan nationals, the statement said. 

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Myanmar has also been consistently bringing to the notice of the Myanmar authorities the serious situation of Sri Lankan victims enslaved in cybercriminal activities by traffickers, urging the authorities to take immediate action to rescue the victims from these distressing circumstances. 

Consequently, the Government of Myanmar has assured that all measures will be taken towards rescuing the victims from the grip of traffickers as early as possible, the ministry said.

Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs U.L. Mohammed Jauhar met with the Myanmar Ambassador in Colombo on 22 February 2024 and reiterated the urgent need for assistance for the safe rescue and repatriation of the Sri Lankan nationals in the Myawaddy area.

It has been informed that while the Myanmar Government has been making efforts, it encountered difficulties in accessing the concerned area due to the prevailing situation, the statement added.

The Ministry said it is in close coordination with the Sri Lankan Missions based in the neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia and international organizations to ensure the wellbeing and safe repatriation of these Sri Lankans at the earliest. 

The Ministry said it is also exploring the possibility of working with other countries whose nationals have also been affected.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry said it has been informed that certain elements are making attempts to collect money from the families of the affected persons promising assistance in the rescue and repatriation process of the trafficked victims. The Ministry requested the families of those affected to exercise extreme caution in dealing with these individuals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs further said it has been in constant contact with the relevant authorities, and wishes to assure that all possible avenues are being pursued for the rescue and safe repatriation of the Sri Lankans who have fallen victim to human trafficking in Myanmar, in close collaboration and constant contact with the Myanmar Government authorities.

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