In the Dark

Sri Lanka has been slow to track illegal migration, though the island remains a hotbed for human trafficking, the Foreign Employment Bureau said. Sri Lanka has been slow to track illegal migration, though the island remains a hotbed for human trafficking, the Foreign Employment Bureau said. “Under the Foreign Employment Act anyone migrating to work, must register with us,” L K Ruhunage, the Foreign Employment Bureau’s Deputy General Manager said in a recent interview with LBO.

The Bureau is the only national organisation that currently manages and tracks foreign employment.

“But trafficking is not done openly. So except when they are caught, we do not know how many go abroad this way,” said Ruhunage.

The government has no official data but the Bureau estimates that annually, as much as 50,000 Sri Lankans leave the island illegally.

However, that number also includes trafficking, people seeking work on student and tourist visas and illegal border crossings without official papers.

Italy, Cyprus, Japan and Korea have traditionally been the popular destinations for this kind of undocumented migration.

A recent ESCAP (