The Law Against Human Trafficking Applies Equally to All Social Classes


State Minister for Defence Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon stressed the need for strict enforcement of the law against individuals engaged in human trafficking. He emphasized that harsh penalties would be levied on those found guilty, regardless of their social status and position.

In addition, the State Minister disclosed that a group of suspects, including a retired senior military officer, has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in human trafficking. It is alleged that they recruited retired army personnel as soldiers for the Russian-Ukraine war. Legal proceedings have been initiated against them.

State Minister Tennakoon made these statements at a media briefing at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (15) under the theme “Collective Path to a Stable Country.”

He added:

The government has given special attention to retired Sri Lankan armed forces personnel participating in the Russian-Ukraine war. In a recent Security Council meeting, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and other security officials were briefed on this issue. It is important to note that strict penalties will be imposed on those found guilty, regardless of their social status and position.

Moreover, around 288 complaints have been registered on this matter. Various individuals, including a retired senior military officer, have been arrested for suspected involvement in human trafficking, and legal action has been taken against them.

They have been using social media campaigns to promote human trafficking, luring victims with promises of high salaries and other benefits. As a result, individuals have become victims of this trafficking in multiple instances. The government urges the public to remain vigilant against such deceptive tactics. The public is encouraged to contact 0112 401 146 if they have any information regarding human trafficking.

Furthermore, it has been decided to extend salaries and benefits to soldiers who died in the war or became fully disabled while serving in the Civil Security Department (CSD) beyond the age of 55. Under the leadership of the President, the government has addressed the challenges faced by individuals whose salaries or pensions were discontinued after turning 55.

As a result, this benefit, previously limited to the armed forces, will now be extended to CSD officers. The relevant cabinet paper will be submitted for approval soon.

Additionally, the Ministry of Defence has announced the conclusion of the general amnesty period for individuals who left the forces without following proper procedures. The general amnesty period will end on 20th May. Currently, around 15,000 individuals are eligible for this amnesty. Notably, in March 2024, 357 individuals left the forces unlawfully. Additionally, 799 individuals who left and later rejoined the service are recognized. This presents a unique situation.

Furthermore, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has established a special committee, headed by the President’s Secretary, to grant concessions and expedite the allocation of land for war heroes. The Ministry of Lands is actively involved in these efforts, in line with the Urumaya program. This initiative is aimed at improving the welfare of war heroes.

State Minister for Defence Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon has emphasized strict enforcement of laws against human trafficking, with severe penalties for those involved, regardless of status. A group of suspects, including a retired military officer, has been arrested for trafficking and using retired army personnel in the Russia-Ukraine war. Around 288 complaints have been lodged, and legal action has begun. The government urges vigilance against trafficking tactics, with a hotline for reporting information. Salaries and allowances will be extended to soldiers who died or were disabled in service, beyond age 55. A special committee has been established to expedite land allocation for war heroes.

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