Across four high labour migration districts (Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy & Kurunegala) of Sri Lanka , Helvetas is conducting training for field level government officials on 'Human Trafficking Victim identification, referral procedures and Psychosocial support' to enhance the quality of services accessible to trafficked victims.
Figures from the government mandated authority on migration indicate that 263,307 women and men migrated overseas for employment in 2015 contributing 40% of the country's annual foreign exchange earnings. Most of these migrants found semi and low skilled jobs in the GCC countries. These migration patterns play a pivotal role in the trafficking situation in the island state; something that has thus far gone predominantly unaddressed in the local narrative, and a gap that Project EQUIP shall bridge. As the recent Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Reports note, "Many migrant workers go into debt to pay high recruitment fees imposed by unscrupulous labour recruitment agencies, only to be trapped in debt bondage on arrival at their destination". Vulnerable communities often faced with a dearth of decent local employment opportunities, feel compelled to seek jobs overseas, and are thereafter subjected to misleading information, exorbitant recruitment fees from both licensed agencies and unlicensed recruitment intermediaries.
Equip takes into account these clear challenges and proposes a set of interventions comprising 3 overarching goals of Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution, with a total of 4 core objectives.
The Equip project partner organizations; International Labour Organization (ILO), the Asia Foundation (TAF), and Helvetas Sri Lanka are implementing activities in collaboration under the 3 key pillars of Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.
Helvetas Sri Lanka is mainly implementing activities under project Objectives 3 and 4 to enhance the quality of protection services available to victims of trafficking.