Human trafficking is a crime against humanity where vulnerable men, women and children are exploited for the financial gain of traffickers. It is considered one of the most profitable criminal businesses in the world, where huge profits are gained by the recruitment of people through false promises, deception, and sometimes through force and abduction for the purpose of exploitation.
People subjected to trafficking are often also victims to abuses such as rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement, and threats against their family or other persons close to them as well as other forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence.
Article 3 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime provides the most widely accepted definition of human trafficking.
Globally, IOM has been working on prevention of trafficking of persons since 1994. The primary objective of IOM activities is to raise awareness on human trafficking and to help identify and protect victims of trafficking including their safe repatriation and reintegration. IOM also continues to provide technical assistance to increase policy dialogue to address human trafficking and strengthen the capacity of relevant government institutions to identify, investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking.
IOM Sri Lanka Counter Trafficking efforts are categorized into four focus areas:
Several public awareness campaigns have been conducted through the distribution of leaflets, posters, stickers informing of the risks and consequences of human trafficking along with airing informative radio spots, docu dramas and performing of street dramas to ensure that vulnerable populations are better informed. IOM also work with journalists to increase reporting of human trafficking incidents and to ensure this information reaches large populations.
IOM ensures that the basic rights of victims are protected by providing repatriation, safe shelter, medical and psychosocial support and reintegration assistance either through direct assistance or through partner organizations.
Comprehensive capacity building programmes are conducted for law enforcement to identify, investigate and prosecute cases of trafficking and programmes on international and local laws pertaining to human trafficking are conducted to enhance knowledge of the Judiciary and State Prosecutors of the Attorney General’s Department.
Since 2010, IOM has been providing technical support to the Ministry of Justice to establish the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force as the key co-ordinating mechanism to address human trafficking. The active collaboration among all members of the task force ensures a co-ordinated effort at increasing the identification and protection of victims of trafficking and the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes. IOM continues to provide support to the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs for the establishment and management of the first government shelter for women victims of human trafficking.
See the Counter Trafficking Programme Overview.