Sri Lanka: Strengthening Coordination to Protect and Assist Human Trafficking Victims


Colombo/October 10, 2019: Seeking to strengthen national coordination to enhance identification and referral of human trafficking victims, UNODC convened a multi-stakeholder two-day training workshop in Colombo for officials of the Sri Lankan Government, law enforcement agencies and civil society representatives.

The training, hosted by the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Sarah Hulton, was aimed at equipping the participating officials with the relevant skills and knowledge to enhance victim identification.

In her opening address, the British High Commission highlighted the value of partnerships, information sharing and coordination in protecting and assisting trafficking victims. "Human trafficking devastates communities. We are working with UNODC and others to better understand the problem across Asia and to develop strong legal, policy and law enforcement responses," she said in her opening remarks.


 The workshop was attended by representatives from the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (NAHTTF), UN agencies, international organisations and civil society groups. The discussions focused on a wide range of thematic areas, including the legal framework applicable to human trafficking, the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling, and ways to identify and assist victims. Participants also exchanged insights on the local efforts initiated to prevent and address human trafficking, gender dimensions of the issue and existing services available for trafficking victims. The importance of establishing a national referral mechanism was also highlighted in the deliberations.

Among the key challenges identified during the training were existing difficulties in victim identification-victims, cumbersome complaint mechanisms, inter-connectedness between labour migration and Trafficking in Persons, poor understanding of internal trafficking due to inadequate knowledge among stakeholders and public, and lack of coordination and information sharing among stakeholders.

Through the hands-on training, participants were sensitized on effective responses to counter trafficking in persons, and equipped with capacities and skills to identify, protect and assist victims of human trafficking. 


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.