Human trafficking :
Hundreds smuggled to Iraq
A large number of people had been trafficked mainly to Iraq via
middle east destinations, on the promise of lucrative job opportunities
in US military camps, the Daily News reliably learns according to
According to authorities, considering the details unearthed by
sleuths, the case is emerging as the biggest of it’s kind in recent
According to sources one agent had charged at least Rs. 250,000 each
from more than 30 people to send them across borders illegally, with
another believed to have been allegedly involved in at least 100 such
cases based on emerging evidence.
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) also said that
they were investigating a couple of other licensed agents as well as
they possessed evidence linking them to the racket.
It is believed that these people had been taken to Middle Eastern
destinations using visit visa’s and then had taken illegal routes to
send them across borders to Iraq and some other destinations.
Recently the world media reported the plight of a large number
employment seekers in Iraq of Asian origin, with a number of Sri Lankans
among them, who were stranded without jobs or other basic facilities.
Some of them were reported to be begging in the streets of Baghdad to
make a living.
Authorities yesterday took steps to annul the licenses, issued to
five foreign employment recruitment agencies, citing involvement in
human trafficking as the main reason.
A SLBFE spokesman said three agents from Colombo and two from Kandy
had been taken to task, after sleuths discovered a large number of
forged documents, Visa’s, passports etc. in their possession.
The SLBFE yesterday warned such job seekers not to be misled by such
rogue agents, while appealing to persons to seek clarification from the
Bureau immediately before committing themselves.
According to a recent US survey, Sri Lanka has been identified as
possessing all ingredients necessary for human trafficking.
But according to local authorities the situation is not that alarming
like in some Asian countries, but effective measures are needed before
the issue gets out of hand.
Human trafficking refers to cases where a person is sold or bartered
without his or her knowledge and acts of selling or promotion to sell
are also considered trafficking under the penal code.
The SLBFE Chairman Kingsly Ranawaka recently declared that, the
authorities were involved in major exercise to overhaul the out dated
1985 Act in a bid to plug loop holes.
The Ministry of Foreign Employment and Welfare too put forward a
National Policy on labour Migration recently.
Thus the SLBFE said that they had launched a thorough investigation
to the incident and also was trying to trace the whereabouts of those
people who had been trafficked. RJ
May 14, 2008 : SLBFE officials detect 20 youth stranded in Kuwait,
who claim that they were duped by an agent after taking a large sum of
money with the promise of jobs in Iraq.
August 29, 2008 : Sleuths bust a ring of rogue agents, operating in
luxury vehicles near the Immigration and Emigration Department.
October 15, 2008 : Two recruitment agents in Colombo taken to task,
for sending teenagers abroad on false documents.
December 08, 2008 : An organized gang dupes 60 foreign job aspirants
to the tune of Rs.20 million, armed with letters with the forged SLBFE
March 2009 : SLBFE sleuths bust more than 70 rogue foreign employment
agents during the first three months of 2009.