Sri Lanka has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List in a latest US report on human trafficking.
The categorization has been made in the Trafficking in Persons 2014 report released on Friday by the United States Secretary of State John Kerry.
Tier 2 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victim Protection Act (TVPA)’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
The following facts had been listed out in the report as reasons for the categorization
- Sri Lanka’s failure to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
- GoSL’s failure to demonstrate evidence of increasing overall efforts to address human trafficking over the previous reporting period despite implementation of modest prevention efforts to which includes updating its national action plan, holding monthly inter-ministerial meetings and launching awareness campaigns.
The report also notes that for the third year in a row the Sri Lankan authorities have failed to convict a single trafficker under its Trafficking Statute.
“As in 2012 and 2011, Sri Lankan courts did not convict any traffickers under Article 360(c) in 2013, though one court convicted three defendants under Article 360(c) for baby-selling. Authorities also convicted 12 traffickers under the procurement statute; all but one of them received a suspended sentence,” the report states adding the government’s dependency on procurement charges and absence of prosecutions are results of an ‘an inability or unwillingness on the part of police to thoroughly investigate potential human trafficking cases for elements of force, fraud, or coercion.’
The 2013 Trafficking in Persons report has also shed light on the inadequacy of victim protection provisions for both male and female victims.
It has also noted the government employees’ suspected complicity in trafficking offenses and the absence of an investigation or prosecutions by the government of suspected employees in this regard.