Sri Lanka: Capacity Building Workshop Empowers Grassroot Officials and Community Representatives to Counter Human Trafficking 

Kurunegala, September 06, 2020: Strengthening the professional capacities of grassroot officials and community groups, UNODC convened a capacity building workshop on countering human trafficking in the city of Kurunegala, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

The training was attended by over 30 participants from diverse walks of life, including field officers attached to District and Divisional Secretariats, counselling officers, migration development officers, journalists and volunteers working with civil society organizations.

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.

Highlighting these aspects, the workshop aimed at providing the participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to prevent and counter human trafficking. During the sessions, the topics covered a range of issues, including ways to identify cases of human trafficking, the legal framework, the responsibility of the community in preventing human trafficking, with a special focus on social responsibility. 

The 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 in Sri Lanka.

Aimed at strengthening responses to tackling trafficking in persons 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.