Sri Lanka preparing a mechanism for border protection and prevention of human smuggling

Sri Lanka is currently drafting legislation and preparing a mechanism to prevent illegal immigration and promote the border security, Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake said Tuesday (Nov 14).

Addressing a workshop on preventing illegal human smuggling at Hotel Kingsbury, Colombo, the Minister said to solve this huge problem Sri Lanka will apply strong laws very soon.

The Minister said in the absence of adequate legislation to address the issue, human smugglers can continue to operate, with little or no fear of being apprehended.

The Minister said that various connections between immigration officials and smugglers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India lead to dysfunctional immigration screening, allowing migrants to travel without any obstacle despite having incomplete or fraudulent documents.

With the new laws and mechanism, law enforcement authorities will be able to make the raids and arrest of traffickers and racketeers, Mr. Ratnayaka said.

The Minister pointed out that at the center of combating migrant smuggling, there is the need to ensure that the laws in the countries involved are harmonized in order to close loopholes in the system.

Since this problem is expanding to other countries, Sri Lanka is eager to combine operations with foreign nations like Australia, he added.

The workshop, ‘Project Relay’ was held to provide specialized training for the law enforcement officers, investigators and front-line border security units, who enforce the law in the region on countering migrant smuggling, which has become an issue in South and South East Asia.

The workshop, held under the leadership of Minister Ratnayaka and with the participation of Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara, had been organized by Interpol together with Sri Lanka Police and it had been funded by the Government of Canada. Around 40 delegates representing Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Thailand participated in the occasion.