Sri Lanka: Enabling Victim-Centered Legislation to Counter Trafficking in Persons


Colombo, Sri Lanka/01 November 2019: Emphasising the need for a comprehensive victim-centered legislative approach to counter human trafficking, UNODC convened a workshop in Colombo on 31 October-01 November for members of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, UN agencies and civil society in Sri Lanka.

The workshop was aimed at aligning national anti-human trafficking legislation in Sri Lanka with the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol and International Standards as a means to strengthen multi-stakeholder responses.

Inaugurating the workshop, Mr. Prabaharan Kumar Ratnam, Senior Deputy Solicitor General of the Attorney General's Department and Member of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, reflected on the emergence of human trafficking as a global menace. He also urged stakeholders to develop and enhance their skills, knowledge and expertise to holistically combat this crime.

In the discussions, participants concurred that legislative provisions should reflect a spirit of inclusiveness and promote a victim-centered approach. Measures such as ending the impunity of the perpetrators, identifying the offenders through a referral process, strengthening national coordination and international cooperation and integrating additional standards as suggested in the Protocol and the Convention were highlighted as essential interventions to counter human trafficking.

The other issues that were deliberated on during the consultation included the need for a qualitative and quantitative research on human trafficking in Sri Lanka, identifying push and pull factors and the responsible government entities that need to be involved, conducting a comprehensive review of the laws by developing common guidelines and ensuring that the Standard Operating Procedures fall in line with the current developments and identifying the current referral procedures and developing recommendations along with a common training curriculum.

Participants also shared a range of recommendations, such as establishing a pool of standard resource personnel for the training thereby disseminating more knowledge on Trafficking in Persons, mapping support services to assess the effectiveness of provision of services to trafficking victim, ensuring the capacity building of investigators, prosecutors and the judiciary and adopting effective victim centric, evidence gathering techniques.

At the workshop, UNODC also shared the findings of two reports, namely'Report of the country gaps and needs assessment on the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka' and 'Gap analysis of the existing national legislation on trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka and its compliance with the United Nations Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Protocol and other relevant instruments'.

This activity was held in the framework of the UNODC project on "Strengthening the implementation of a comprehensive response to TIP in India and Sri Lanka", implemented as part of the UNODC Global Programme against TIP, jointly with the  UNODC Regional Office for South Asia and with the financial support of the United Kingdom.


Aimed at strengthening responses to tackling TIP as evidenced by better identification of victims and initiation of investigations, this project also contributes to the implementation of the  2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.