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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: Ambassador Launches Us-Funded

VZCZCXRO6798
OO RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #1450/01 2961011
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231011Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7051
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0557
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0476
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7465
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5606
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4079
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1476
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 4125
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3218
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 8063
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5671
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0425
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2386
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001450

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS, G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: AMBASSADOR LAUNCHES US-FUNDED
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS INITIATIVE

REF: A. COLOMBO 1304

B. COLOMBO 1188
C. STATE 113842
D. AND PREVIOUS

1. Summary. Ambassador on October 18 hosted a press event
to launch a Department of State and USAID-funded
anti-trafficking program implemented by the International
Organization for Migration (IOM). The event received wide
coverage in the Sri Lankan media. The Sri Lanka Police's
Women's and Children's Bureau Director A.R. Waidyalankara
said the GSL considers trafficking in persons to be a "very
serious issue," and welcomed the new program. He also noted
that a GSL coordinating committee on trafficking will soon be
formed. IOM announced that it will co-host with the GSL a
roundtable event in mid-November to raise awareness within
the government and promote support for a national
anti-trafficking policy. The GSL coordination committee,
roundtable in November, and proposed national policy on
trafficking are all welcome steps in addressing Sri Lanka's
TIP problem. End Summary.

2. Ambassador on October 18 hosted a press event to launch a
U.S. funded anti-trafficking program implemented by IOM. The
$500,000 project, co-funded by USAID and the Department of
State, will train 500 law enforcement and government
officials on human trafficking; improve methods of data
collection, dissemination, and tracking; and enhance
coordination among government and nongovermental
organizations. The press event was extensively covered by
all three of Sri Lanka's English-language daily newspapers,
two Sinhala and two Tamil newspapers, as well as several
television and radio stations.

3. IOM's new Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka Mohamed Adbiker
noted the need to curb human trafficking in Sri Lanka before
it reaches epidemic proportions. He said that war,
unemployment, and natural disasters have increased Sri
Lankans' vulnerability to trafficking.

4. Director of the Sri Lanka Police's Women's and Children's
Bureau A.R. Waidyalankara said the GSL considers trafficking
in persons to be a "very serious issue." He welcomed the new
program, which he said "will help us more vigorously identify
and prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking."
Waidyalankara also noted that a GSL coordinating committee on
trafficking will soon be formed. Headed by the Ministry of
Women's Empowerment and Child Development, the body will
monitor trafficking issues, identify challenges and make
policy decisions to address those issues, he said.

5. Ambassador commended the GSL on its efforts to address
human trafficking including amending its penal code in April
2006 to criminalize trafficking crimes in compliance with UN
Trafficking Protocol standards and ratifying the South Asian
regional convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking
in Women and Children for Prostitution. He noted, however,
that "Sri Lanka needs a better trained network of law
enforcement professionals to establish legal grounds under
which instigators of trafficking can be identified and
prosecuted under the law." The initiative that was being
announced will, he said, "help train Government of Sri Lanka
officials to pursue criminal investigations and prosecutions
of trafficking offenses more aggressively."

6. On October 18, Poloff attended a coordination meeting at
IOM to discuss the implementation of this project. This
monthly meeting is attended by the Embassy, USAID, Salvation
Army, Solidarity Center, the Sri Lanka Police, the Foreign
Employment Bureau, the Attorney General's department, and
other relevant GSL agencies. IOM announced that it will
co-host with the GSL a roundtable event in mid-November to
bring together even more stakeholders and interested

COLOMBO 00001450 002 OF 002


organizations. The event will focus on raising awareness of
traficking within the GSL, and attempt to get buy-in rom
various parts of the GSL on a national anti-rafficking
policy.

7. COMMENT: The launch o this joint Department of State
and USAID anti-trafficking program was well publicized and
well reeived. We were pleased that the Sri Lanka police
chose to participate and state publicly the GSL'sintent to
proactively address human trafficking. The GSL coordination
committee, roundtable in November, and proposed national
policy on traffickig are all welcome steps in addressing the
TIP prblem. Post will continue to closely coordinate with
the GSL, as well as IOM, on these efforts.
MOORE

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