January 19, Colombo: The U.S. government will award more than 183 million rupees ($1.2 million) to counter trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka over the next three years. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs will award the new project “Equipping Sri Lanka to Counter Trafficking in Persons (EQUIP)” to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives.
U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap applauded the effort, saying, “The United States has a strong commitment to working with international partners to tackle the root causes of modern slavery and protect victims and vulnerable populations. Through the EQUIP project, we will continue to support the government of Sri Lanka in combating the scourge of human trafficking.”
“This is a very timely opportunity for the ILO to step up efforts to combat human trafficking,” said Simrin Singh, Country Director of the ILO for Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “Well-known ILO tools on Fair Recruitment and the application of recommendations of ILO Conventions and Protocols on Forced Labor will make a positive dent in tackling the challenges at national and grass root levels.”
EQUIP will directly assist Sri Lankan men, women, and children who are at risk and those who are victims of human trafficking. The project will work closely with “agents of change”– policy makers, law enforcement, recruitment agents, trade unions, as well as business – to amplify the impact of interventions and achieve lasting change.