U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (Tier 2)
Sri Lanka is a source country for women and children who are trafficked internally and to the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea for the purposes of coerced labor and sexual exploitation. Small numbers of women from Thailand, China, Russia, and other former Soviet states are trafficked to Sri Lanka for sexual exploitation. Boys and girls are victims of sexual exploitation by pedophiles in the sex tourism industry. Trafficking takes place in areas controlled by both the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE continued to traffic children into forced labor and military service, taking at least 100 children after the tsunami in December.
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. In LTTE-controlled northern and eastern Sri Lanka, the government was unable to enforce anti-trafficking measures during the reporting period. Sri Lankan officials have taken strong measures in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami to prevent the trafficking of children made vulnerable by this natural disaster. Reports indicate that certain airline officials and NGO representatives have been allegedly involved in trafficking. The government should develop a comprehensive national plan of action to combat trafficking and appoint a national coordinator to oversee implementation of the plan.
Sri Lanka continued to make progress over the reporting period. The government uses various means to monitor and apprehend traffickers, including making effective use of its CyberWatch Project, which relies on a "watch list" database of suspected sex offenders. However, the government achieved no prosecutions or convictions related to trafficking during the reporting period. It encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. The government, however, has not provided any specialized training to its officials responsible for combating trafficking. The government should stop imposing fines on women trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Over the reporting period, the government made commendable progress in protecting victims of trafficking, considering its limited resources. Sri Lanka provides child victims with monthly food supplements and uses various means to shelter victims. It runs rehabilitation camps that offer medical and counseling services to victims of internal trafficking, and places victims in shelters run by NGOs. Sri Lankan diplomatic missions abroad operate shelters for its nationals who have fallen into trafficking situations. Sri Lanka established a new Child Protection Unit within the Attorney Generals' Office in 2004 to combat child trafficking, allocated additional funds and resources to the anti-Human Smuggling and Investigation Bureau, and continued to assign welfare officers to assist victims in destination countries. The government provides some compensation for victims of sexual or labor exploitation who register with the Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau.
The government improved its prevention measures by creating and empowering a new Child Protection Unit within the Attorney General's Office. It made commendable effort in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami to prevent increased trafficking. The government arrested a U.S. national and an Australian for allegedly engaging in pedophilia; both await trial. Sri Lanka works well with the ILO, IOM, and local NGOs that endeavor to promote prevention programs. It has instructed its welfare officers in embassies abroad to educate Sri Lankan nationals about their rights and responsibilities while working in those countries, in an effort to prevent them from falling into involuntary servitude or exploitative situations.