Following the launch of a national media campaign on Safe Labour Migration, the key messages of the campaign are being taken to the masses through a series of awareness programmes across the island. The first phase of the activations, which will cover 200 locations in the 25 districts in total, came to a conclusion recently with positive feedback from the public. The activations have been initiated at present and conducted in 25 locations to date, with the aim of covering 200 locations in total.
Initiated by the Ministry of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, and supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka, the campaign aims to encourage all citizens to make informed decisions and follow correct procedures for foreign employment by seeking proper guidance through reliable sources; the 1989 hotline, SLBFE Offices and Development Officers of Foreign Employment based at every Divisional Secretariat and District Secretariat office.
Promotion trucks with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Employment and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment visited areas with high public gatherings such as weekend fairs, bus stands, parking lots, and super markets in several towns including Kaluthara, Aluthgama, Ambalangoda, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Beruwala, Wadduwa, Bandaragama and Horana. Leaflets with key information were distributed and those who were interested had an opportunity to directly speak to the officials to gain more information. The most common queries made were about state initiated migration opportunities to countries like Japan and Korea. There were also dialogues about female migrant workers, financial schemes for foreign employees as well as benefits.
A large number of citizens, especially in the low-skilled category, choose to migrate without due consideration of its adverse implications, for the sake of personal and family interests. Such actions often leave them vulnerable to exploitation of their rights as well as those of their families. The lack of access to reliable information for migrant workers and their families has been identified as a major problem that prevents Sri Lankans from making informed decisions when it comes to foreign employment.
The campaign builds awareness about getting correct information that will guide prospective migrant workers. It also emphasizes the necessity of registering with the SLBFE prior to departing. In addition, the sources provide advice and facilities to help them build a secure and successful future in the country of their choice, such as information on vocational skills as the improvement of skills and qualifications will improve job prospects, income earning potential, working conditions and long-term investment plans.
The campaign will continue to visit the public throughout this year, and will be held in Anuradhapura and Kurunegala next