Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2020, Sri Lanka made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. During the reporting period, the government raised the minimum age for employment from 14 to 16 years, which is also the compulsory education age. It also took steps towards implementing the regulations on the Hazardous Occupations Regulations Gazette under the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, and developed a COVID-19 Child Vulnerability Survey. Furthermore, the government increased its number of labor inspectors from 494 to 588 and approved a new National Strategic Plan to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking (2021–2025). Finally, the government implemented a cash transfer program for families who lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other social welfare programs targeting low-income households that are aimed at reducing the economic vulnerabilities of children. However, children in Sri Lanka are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Although the government made meaningful efforts in all relevant areas during the reporting period, research indicates some victims of child trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation may be penalized for prostitution and other offenses rather than treated as victims. In addition, the labor inspectorate is not authorized to assess penalties for labor law violations. 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. Also, the government does not fully disaggregate criminal data, including cases investigated for forced child labor, child trafficking, child commercial sexual exploitation, and the use of children in illicit activities.

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