(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The US is committed to working with civil society, international organizations, and the Sri Lankan government to combat trafficking in persons in the country, a diplomat of the US Embassy on Monday said.
Robert Hilton, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy said this while delivering a speech at an event organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office in Colombo in view of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
Mr. Hilton said the US Department of State funds three grants in Sri Lanka with a total value of approximately $2.5 million.“These grants engage on a wide variety of activities including, for example, helping to strengthen the judiciary to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, building an effective trafficking data collection and reporting system, and improving services and protections for trafficking victims. Our partners, complementing the ILO’s work in these efforts, are The Asia Foundation and the American Bar Association,” he said.
He said these activities represent a commitment by the American government and by the American taxpayer to the worldwide effort to defeat trafficking in persons.“These efforts, of course, complement and support the important work that the government of Sri Lanka is itself doing to address human trafficking. I want to commend the government of Sri Lanka for progress in areas like identifying potential trafficking victims and amending legislation to make it possible to collect evidence and statements from victims or eyewitnesses who are overseas,” he said.
However, he said there ismore work to be done and encouraged the Sri Lankan government, including the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, to make progress on the critical issue of prosecuting and convicting perpetrators, improving protection services to victims, and promoting safe and legal migration.
“Sri Lanka is not alone, of course, in trying to tackle the complex challenge of human trafficking. As I said, this is a problem the US has as well. President Trump has made combatting human trafficking a priority for his administration. Combatting human trafficking requires a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary effort,” he said.