Officials of Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) have arrested three people including a monk, who had sent women to Dubai illegally for domestic work under the pretext of promoting Buddhism.
The officials of the SLFEB at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Thursday have observed ten women clad in white clothes behaving suspiciously near the departure lounge of the airport. Upon questioning the women had said that they are going to Dubai for domestic work and a monk is escorting them.
However, the women were not in the possession of proper documents for foreign employment.
When the monk was questioned he has said that the women are going to Dubai to promote Buddhism and afterwards they will be visitng Nepal for a pilgrimage.
The officials have then arrested the monk and two others involved in the racket. The main suspects of the racket are Palladeniye Rathanasiri Thero of Meegoda, Wadugoda Jayasiri Vihara, Hettiarachchige Suranjith, a resident of Borella and his cousin Sasitha Sankalpana, a resident of Wellampitiya, Meethotamulla.
During further questioning it has been revealed that all the women have children under five years of age. The monk has already sent four groups of women to Dubai providing false documents since women with children under five cannot leave for foreign employment.
The monk has paid Rs. 5,000 for each woman and Rs. 10,000 for each of the two suspects. He had also promised to pay Rs. 75,000 to the relatives of the women two weeks after they departed for employment in Dubai. The women have been told that they will earn Rs. 40,000 per month as domestic servants in Dubai.
The officials are seeking to arrest two more suspects involved in the racket.
Minister of Justice and Foreign Employment, Thalatha Athukorala speaking to state TV Rupavahini said the law will be strictly enforced under the provisions of the Human Trafficking Act against the suspects regardless of their status.
She urged the women not to fall for such fraudulent persons and warned that they can be subjected to various hardships if left for foreign employment without registering with the Bureau. The Minister stressed that if not registered with the Bureau, the Ministry cannot intervene when they get into trouble.