Tue, 17 May 2022 Today's Paper

Human trafficking and its relevance to Sri Lanka

31 July 2019 01:27 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Large economic disparities, the absence of a regular living wage and lack of equitable social and economic policy for women are factors that drive men and women into migrant employment

In 2013, the UN member states adopted a resolution which designated July 30 as World Day against Trafficking in Persons. The declaration of such a day was necessary to ‘raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights’.

UN reports reveal that women and children are most vulnerable and susceptible to be trafficked and that a third of them are children. These victims are trafficked mainly for the commercial sex industry and for child marriage and men and boys are trafficked for the exploitation of forced labour in various sectors and industries.

Human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour are a global phenomenon in both the developed and developing world. Millions of people are tricked, deceived and misled by traffickers to believe that they are offered opportunities in greener pastures. Traffickers also use force and kidnap and even use family members of very poor families to sell children to survive. In almost all of these situations victims lose their dignity, their rights and are severely abused in many forms with very little redress. Trafficking in persons is a global business that is in par with the drugs industry in terms of profit. In the migrant labour market to the Gulf corridor, the personal documents of the victims are withheld or confiscated to make sure the victim has no legal pathway to escape. 

The Palermo Protocol

In understanding the context of human trafficking let us first understand the definition of the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons. It states the following: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” 

Understanding the Tiers

The US Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TiP) report is based on the TVPA criteria such as the 4 levels of trafficking in persons namely Tier1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List and Tier 3. In the US TiP report 2019, it has relegated Sri Lanka from a Tier 2 position to a Tier 2 Watch List position. 

Tier 1 according to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) are countries that meet the full minimum requirements of the TVPA. Tier 2 are countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. 

Tier 2 Watch List are countries with the same definition as Tier 2, though not conforming to certain protocols such the number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing or failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year or the commitment of a country to take significant efforts to meet the minimum TVPA standards in the next year. 

Tier 3 countries are those in civil conflict and humanitarian crisis and those that have had natural devastations where reporting has been difficult. Sri lanka has remained in the Tier 2 and Tier 2 Watch List since 2011 and has had the privilege of being a Tier 2 country for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018. For Sri Lanka, having slipped to a Tier 2 Watch List is a setback and disappointment. 

Human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour are a global phenomenon

Tier Two Watch List

Sri Lanka has in place a national anti-human trafficking task force led by the ministry of justice. There are other ministries and government departments relevant to the subject matter who are members of this task force. 

For Sri lanka the antitrafficking Tier recognition stems largely from labour migration. It is in this segment that bigger numbers of trafficking in persons are recorded. Other segments are much smaller in number of recorded cases/victims are from the plantations into other urban areas, pedophilia and child sex in the popular coastal tourist belts, girls and women trafficked into working in massage parlours and brothels under the guise of tourist board approved ayurvedic centres, child labor in certain pockets of the country. Whilst these incidences are clearly attributed to organised crime, one of its root causes can be identified as the vast economic disparity that some segments of the population face in society. 

Other emerging trends in human trafficking that Sri Lanka must give heed to is in cyber sex trafficking and drugs and narcotics trafficking.  Sri Lanka has become a strategic location and a transshipment hub for numerous drugs. 

The data on victims and traffickers are either not available or is under recorded or is vague. Trafficked victims are often too scared to come out and relate their stories to authorities fearing that traffickers would hound them. 

Human trafficking in labour migration

There are many aspects in labour migration especially among low skilled workers and female domestic workers that trafficking in persons take place. Large economic disparities, the absence of a regular living wage and lack of equitable social and economic policy for women are factors that drive men and women into migrant employment. Recruiters and employers take full advantage of the weak negotiating status of workers.  

This stems from the recruitment process among both the formal recruiting agency network and the informal intermediary network. The intermediary network is linked to the agency network as they source workers for agencies for a fee. There is a third dimension – namely the recruiting agency counterparts in host countries.  There are intermediaries in host countries as well, most of whom are Sri Lankan nationals living and working there who lure migrant prospects at home to take alternate and often irregular pathways to migrate bypassing the conventional agency system and even the mandatory registration process such as the family background report (FBR) imposed on women migrant workers. 

The government imposed a regulatory mechanism called the “family background report” (FBR) to female migrant worker around 2013. Women had to comply by certain requirements to qualify for overseas employment through the FBR that is implemented at the district and divisional levels by appointed migrant development officers (MDO) and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This indiscriminate process has resulted in restricting women from migrating for employment which is a fundamental violation of their mobility and rights. 

The FBR has created a plethora of problems. It has created considerable abuse and corruption in the system. It has created alternate ways to migrate, desperate migrants, knowingly or unknowingly are taking risks to migrate for employment without proper documents, often aided by recruiters and intermediaries. The State refuses to recognise them if they have not registered and paid the registration fee to migrate. Their irregular and undocumented status make them extremely vulnerable to a range of rights violations and abuses by employers and recruiters. 

It is for this reason the SDGs calls for inclusivity, equality and responsibility among nations and have its underlying theme as “Leave no one behind”.

Contract violations are common among domestic workers and low skilled male workers.  Outsourcing companies also shift people around at their own will. There are instances where workers are taken by road to other destinations in the Gulf, including domestic workers. These trafficking offences go unnoticed as destination countries don’t have effective mechanisms to monitor them.  

Intervention

There are many consultative processes and instruments in place that discuss trafficking in persons including labour migration. Traffickers are well connected. Bribes and other corrupt deals including political muscle must be monitored, and perpetrators brought to book. If not, human trafficking would be a rampant business in our country. 

Data on human trafficking is very sketchy. It is important to monitor movements of trafficked instances, their origins, the perpetrators and make strong interventions at the national level for policy influencing and changes. 

The general complaint is that trafficked cases take a long time to be heard and concluded in the courts. This delay does not encourage trafficked victims to come forward and seek redress. Speedier implementation of cases and a more positive response from the relevant authorities is highly desired.

(The above essay contains thoughts and reflections of the writer whose organisation, Community Development Services (CDS) works on labour migration, labour trafficking and human rights of workers vulnerable to human trafficking. He can be reached by email (avsamuel@gmail.com)

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  Comments - 0

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


The Three Universal Truths in Buddhism

Buddhism is a moral and philosophical system, which expounds a unique path of

After night of terror, activists accuse government of smokescreening

On May 9, 2022, several hours before former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

RECOVERY OF STOLEN ASSETS – Part I

The “#gotagohome” campaign that started a few weeks back demanding the Pr

‘GotaGoGama’ rises through ashes after Monday’s nightmare

A half burned down tent standing on plastic pillars, heaps of rubble from the