Sri Lanka: Capacity Building Workshop engages Community-level Officers to Counter Trafficking in Persons 

Kurunegala, September 13, 2020: Continuing the efforts to enhance the professional capacities of grassroot officials and community groups, UNODC convened the second capacity building workshop on countering human trafficking in the city of Kurunegala, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

Given the significance of coordinated community responses to prevent human trafficking, the workshop focused on establishing links and collaboration between the police and community to share information and support the identification, referral and reporting of cases. 

During the workshop, representatives from local civil security committees and watchdog groups were trained on ways to identify human trafficking and related crimes, the existing legal framework and the responsibility of the community in preventing human trafficking.The sessions focused on strategies to increase collaboration and communication between the community and the police.

The knowledge and skills imparted during the workshop are expected to enable community members in taking a proactive role in identifying incidents of human trafficking and assisting the police. The activity was part of a project aimed at preventing and addressing trafficking in persons by developing and implementing a community-based in Sri Lanka. 

In the Sri Lankan context, the city of Kurunegala is identified as a high labour migration district. Vulnerable communities in such areas often faced with a dearth of decent local employment opportunities, feel compelled to seek jobs overseas.

Such groups also face the risk of being subjected to misleading information, exorbitant recruitment fees from both licensed agencies and unlicensed recruitment intermediaries, finally falling victim to forged recruitment schemes of traffickers.

This activity was held in the framework of the UNODC project on "Strengthening the implementation of a comprehensive response to trafficking in persons in India and Sri Lanka”, implemented as part of the initiative ‘Support to Strengthen Government Initiative to Combat Human Trafficking’ (StrenGth) of Immigration Enforcement International, British High Commission, Colombo, jointly with the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia and with the financial support of the British High Commission.

With the aim of strengthening responses to tackling trafficking in persons as evidenced by better identification of victims and initiation of investigations, this project further contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions