Irregular, undocumented migration of women and girls for domestic work overseas is a key area of concern to the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) as this renders these workers vulnerable to trafficking into exploitative labour, including commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of reported cases are from the Eastern parts of the country. Despite the GOSL’s efforts to protect its migrant workers, there is a need to reinforce these measures as large numbers of migrant workers still experience violations of their labour rights through psychological and physical harassment, isolation, non-payment of agreed wages, debt bondage to placement agencies and involuntary servitude.
The overall goal is to promote decent work in “conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity” for women and children employed as domestic or unskilled workers abroad, reducing their vulnerability to rights violations as victims of trafficking for labour exploitation.
This proposal stems from consultations held with the Ministry of Justice, the National Child Protection Authority, Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion & Welfare (MOFEP&W), Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower (MOLRM), the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agents (ALFEA) and other concerned organizations in Sri Lanka such as the IOM, and has been consolidated as support to a national response to the 2007 TIP report. This proposal addresses components within the programme which ILO is in a strong position to implement.
It aims to achieve the following priority objectives:
- Immediate Objective 1 - Strengthened law enforcement mechanisms and operations in order to reduce fraudulent/abusive recruitment practices and undocumented migration for domestic work.
- Immediate Objective 2: Enhanced legal, institutional and policy frameworks in order to support better governance and more efficient management of migration, including of domestic workers.
- Immediate Objective 3: Improved knowledge base and coordination to support better-informed, rights-based labour migration, including of domestic workers.