Challenges in investigating trafficking of migrant workers for labour exploitation: Case Study


  • Roma Ranasinghe Freelance



Human Trafficking, Labour exploitation, migrant workers, Challenges, Investigation


This paper examines the phenomenon of Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation of Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad. Labour trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals are recruited or transported to perform labour or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion and under the threat of some kind of penalty. Over the years, foreign employment has generated substantial inflows of remittances and acted as a safety valve for local unemployment and has also opened up overseas employment opportunities for many women who may not have been active in the local labour force, though in low paid occupations such as domestic work. Some Sri Lankan men, women, and children who migrate to the Middle East, Asia—including Southeast Asia and Afghanistan—Europe, and the United States to work in the construction, garment and domestic service sectors are victims of forced labour. This study will focus on a selected sample of cases reported to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Sri Lanka Police, on Trafficking of migrants for labour exploitation. The data was collected from operational case files and interviews with senior investigating officers. Part I of this study discuss the introduction to human trafficking, the definition and the legal framework pertaining to human trafficking in Sri Lanka. Part II, will illustrate the case studies with the three major stages in the trafficking process: recruitment, control, and exploitation.  The key challenges associated with investigating this crime will be discussed in Part III of this study. The paper ultimately concludes the officers’ recommendations for future cases.    




United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2000) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. [Online].Availablefrom:[Accessed 29.10.2019]

International Labour Organization [Online].Available from:[Accessed


C029 - Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 03/11/2019]

Amendment to the Penal Code of Sri Lanka Act No.16 of 2006




How to Cite

Ranasinghe, R. (2020). Challenges in investigating trafficking of migrant workers for labour exploitation: Case Study. Proceedings of the World Conference on Women’s Studies, 5(1), 34–41.