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The US government will grant more than Rs.183 million ($1.2 million) to counter human trafficking in Sri Lanka during the next three years, the US Embassy said on Friday.

It said the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs would award the new project “Equipping Sri Lanka to Counter Trafficking in Persons (EQUIP)” to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives.

US Ambassador Atul Keshap applauded the effort saying the US has a strong commitment to working with international partners to tackle the root causes of modern slavery and protect victims and vulnerable populations.

“Through the EQUIP project, we will continue to support the government of Sri Lanka in combating the scourge of human trafficking,” he said.

ILO Country Director Simrin Singh said this is a timely opportunity for the ILO to step up efforts to combat human trafficking

“Well-known ILO tools on Fair Recruitment and the application of recommendations of ILO Conventions and Protocols on Forced Labor will make a positive dent in tackling the challenges at national and grass root levels,” she said.

EQUIP will directly assist Sri Lankan men, women and children who are at risk and those who are victims of human trafficking. “The project will work closely with policy makers, law enforcement, recruitment agents, trade unions and business entities to amplify the impact of interventions and achieve lasting change,” the statement said.

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