E-module to combat human trafficking

The Foreign Affairs Ministry with Australian support launched an e-Module training programme for Sri Lankan officers posted abroad to help combat human trafficking.

“In our daily lives, many of us may not realise the gravity and scale of human trafficking,” said Prasad Kariyawasam, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the launch of the Ministry’s Combatting Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) e-Module. “In fact it is a scar on our common sense of humanity,” he added.

Around the world, migrant workers searching for jobs are particularly vulnerable to trafficking in persons, or human trafficking. With over 200,000 Sri Lankans moving abroad each year for work, many are vulnerable to fraudulent jobs schemes and abuse.

“The Australian government has deep co-operation with Sri Lanka in this space,” Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson said. “Globally, Australia is a very strong supporter of efforts to address human trafficking.”

Given the vast, intercontinental nature of human trafficking, Kariyawasam, highlighted the importance of this sort of inter-country collaboration, “no country is excepted, even developed countries, trafficking is around the world,” he said. “Partnerships are vital.” Kariyawasam said the module is made for areas where human trafficking is particularly prevalent, but added that trafficked persons do not always to cross borders. According to Kariyawasam, a victim can be forced to move countries, cities, towns, or streets. He defines human trafficking as someone being forcibly moved and exploited, and said it happens domestically in Sri Lanka, too. Created by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the programme will be extended to officers of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Defence Ministry and Commerce Department who may be points of contact for trafficked persons. Aiming to improve knowledge of officers so they can identify victims and train them to respond to victims sensitively, the e-learning programme is a part of a larger public information campaign, which has also included social media initiatives and TV commercials. The programme will teach officers legal framework; familiarise them with international processes and conventions; and train them to effectively identify and interview potential victims, refer cases for assistance, protection, and ensure victims safe return.

The UN defines Trafficking in Persons as, “the recruitment, transport, 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.”

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