Lankan Moscow Embassy warns Sri Lankans not to fall victim to human trafficking | Sunday Observer

Lankan Moscow Embassy warns Sri Lankans not to fall victim to human trafficking

22 November, 2020

Foreign recruitment in Sri Lanka has increased as most people are concerned about the competency level, job exposure and salaries offered overseas. People are attracted towards seeking jobs and education overseas without calculating the potential risks. With the rise of foreign employment and education, the number of fraud recruitment cases has also increased resulting in students and employees falling victim to bogus recruitment agencies and their exploitation.

According to the Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment (SLBFE), currently, around 10 percent Sri Lankans are employed abroad. A spokesman for the Sri Lanka Embassy in Moscow said that they have received a large number of complaints from Sri Lankans against fraudulent employment and education agencies in Sri Lanka.

With the aspiration of having career opportunities and migrating to European countries, Sri Lankans travel to Russian on student or visit visas. In line with the immigration conditions and regulations, non natives who travel to the Russian Federation on visit visas are not allowed to work within the validity period of their visas. But as most instances have revealed, students are bamboozled and played false by being sent on student/visit visas to have jobs with higher salaries and also assuring them to be facilitated to cross the borders to European countries.

This year, the Russian authorities have detained 27 Sri Lankans with regard to fraudulent activities. As per the reports, 17 of them have been sent back to Sri Lanka and 10 are still in detention centers as their legal procedures continue.

In most cases, as tour expenditure, large sums of money are acquired by agents from students. An objective of the bogus agencies is to obtain money from their clients and the next step is said to be quite horrendous which is to exploit and traffic them via state borders to countries such as Ukraine, Europe and Belarus. Along with exploitation and traffic, illegal activities include violation of immigration rules, illegal crossing of state borders, being illegally occupied as migrant workers following the expiry of visas and possessing forged student/employment visas. The culprits, who have involved in scamming, fall into three major categories: several Sri Lankan foreign employment and education agencies, Sri Lankan expatriates and organised groups. The Russian law enforcement authorities have notified the Sri Lanka embassy in Moscow that a certain number of such offenders have been sentenced and fined. The Sri Lankan Embassy in Moscow has taken steps to keep Sri Lanka and the authorities informed about the details of the incidents related to human trafficking.

Last year, the Foreign Employment Bureau initiated a special investigation unit to grapple with the issue. The unit was designed to grill delinquencies in respect of foreign employment including fraud jobs, job scams and fake agencies. The embassy of Sri Lanka in Russia rigorously calls for immediate concern over the human trafficking issue in a note of advice to Sri Lankans to abstain from using swift and snap illegal avenues to reach Russia or any other neighboring countries.