US tells Sri Lanka to prosecute officials involved in trafficking

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The United States has urged Sri Lanka to prosecute officials involved in human trafficking.

The call was made in an annual report released by US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on human trafficking.

Pompeo will unveiled the 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at the US State Department yesterday (Thursday).

On Sri Lanka, the report says while respecting due process, Sri Lanka must improve efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers, including complicit officials, and convict and punish offenders with sentences commensurate with other serious crimes.

Sri Lanka was also urged to increase efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims and train officials on victim identification and referral procedures, especially to ensure victims are not detained or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts, such as immigration violations or prostitution, committed as a direct result of having been subjected to human trafficking.

The US also urged Sri Lanka to improve protection services to ensure identified victims, including men and children, receive specialized care services.

The report also proposes that Sri Lanka take steps to eliminate all recruitment fees charged to workers by labor recruiters and instead ensure they are paid by employers and to also expand the foreign employment bureau’s (SLBFE) mandate to include the regulation of sub-agents, promote safe and legal migration and ensure migration regulations do not discriminate on the basis of gender and increase efforts of the task force to institutionalize sustained Government coordination efforts.

In the annual report, Sri Lanka remains in Tier 2 and the US says while the Government of Sri Lanka does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it is making significant efforts to do so.

According to the report, the Government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period and therefore Sri Lanka remained on Tier 2. (Colombo Gazette)

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