As the Chair of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (NAHTTF) of Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Defence is pleased to announce that Sri Lanka remains in Tier 2 of the Annual Ratings of the recently released Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report by the United States Department of State. Known as the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts, the US TIP Report also reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.
The U.S. government’s approach to combating human trafficking is consistent with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (commonly known as the “Palermo Protocol”). Sri Lanka ratified this Protocol in June 2015.
As per the 2023 US TIP Report, GoSL does not fully meet the minimum standard for the elimination of trafficking but is making a significant effort to do so; and demonstrates overall increasing efforts in comparison with 2022. While highlighting that the Sri Lankan Government increased prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, cooperated with foreign officials, reformed some restrictive migration policies, blacklisted more agencies, expanded the regulation of sub-agents and supported the repatriation of Sri Lankans after identifying more victims; the 2023 US TIP Report makes 12 prioritized recommendations for stronger counter-trafficking efforts in the country.
Among the said recommendations are ensuring that victims are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, increasing efforts to address child sex tourism, including proactive identification of victims and investigation of complicit establishments, formalizing the domestic work sector and increasing oversight of working conditions, providing sufficient resources for labor inspectors and increasing identification of labor trafficking and exploitation; and increasing training for police, prosecutors, judges, immigration officials, and service providers on human trafficking and victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches. The NAHTTF, under the leadership of the Ministry of Defence, will be putting in place several strategies to implement these recommendations.
Sri Lanka remaining in Tier 2 is a testament to the strong perseverance of all the members of the NAHTTF in following a holistic and collaborative approach to curb human trafficking, recognized currently as one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.
The NAHTTF, consisting of Senior officials from the Attorney General’s Department; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms; Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment; Institute of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology; Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment, Ministry of Public Security; Ministry of Tourism and Land; National Child Protection Authority, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Human Trafficking, Smuggling and Maritime Crimes Investigation Division of the Criminal Investigations Department; Department of Immigration & Emigration, Department of Labor, The Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women, Department of Probation and Child Care Services, Department of Social Services, National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses, Criminal Intelligence Analysis & Preventive Division and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka works with utmost dedication with the Chief of National Intelligence who leads the Board of Officials at the Ministry of Defence appointed by the Secretary Defence, General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) - Chairman (NAHTTF), to monitor and combat human trafficking in Sri Lanka, in accordance with the National Strategic Action Plan 2021 - 2025.