Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
2021 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2021, Sri Lanka made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government amended the hazardous occupations list by expanding it to include domestic labor, and amended the Minimum Wages Ordinance, the Shop and Office Employees' Act, and the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act to raise the minimum age of employment from 14 to 16 years. The government also prioritized the fisheries and plantation sectors for awareness activities, conducting various trainings and other awareness-raising programs regarding eliminating child labor. In addition, it prepared a National Strategic Action Plan to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking (2021–2025) and released a Standard Operating Procedure on the Identification, Protection, and Referral of Child Victims of Trafficking in English, Sinhala, and Tamil in partnership with an NGO. However, children in Sri Lanka are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, and forced domestic work. Although the government made meaningful efforts in all relevant areas during the reporting period, it did not impose criminal penalties for violations related to the worst forms of child labor or publish data on its efforts to address child labor crimes. Research indicates some children in rural areas face barriers to accessing education, including difficulties in traveling to school in some regions and an inadequate number of teachers. Furthermore, the labor inspectorate lacked sufficient staffing or funding to carry out inspections, especially inspections of factories in the northern and eastern provinces.

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