India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal join hands to optimize screening and support
services for gender-based violence and trafficking victims

Multi-country research commissioned by The Asia Foundation; Study conducted in Sri Lanka

by Centre for Poverty Analysis

The Asia Foundation convened a multi-country regional meeting in Delhi on
March 24 & 25, to discuss optimizing screening and support services for Gender-Based Violence
(GBV) and Trafficking in Persons (TIP) victims in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The regional meeting
follows national convenings, discussing the findings of individual country reports on ‘Optimizing
Screening and Support Services for Victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Trafficking in Persons
Participants from Nepal and Sri Lanka were able to virtually join in the proceedings of the two-day
event in Delhi. The event featured experts and officials from India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, who believe
that improving screening and identification is critical, amidst rising incidents of trafficking and
gender-based violence. Chandima Arambepola of the Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka
presented the findings of the Sri Lanka study, while Chaithri Ranatunge, of The Asia Foundation, Sri
Lanka contributed views and insights on existing mechanisms and tools to support screening and
linking service delivery referral to services for victims.
The study revealed that across the three countries of India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, there was limited
comprehensive understanding of the interlinkages between TIP and GBV among law enforcement,
prosecutors, judges, and government and non-government service providers.
Regionally, the research findings highlight that GBV and TIP victims often suffer similar and
intersecting forms of abuse. Yet the service delivery system largely compartmentalizes the provision
of services based on the type of crime, rather than on the common experiences of violence and
abuse suffered by both types of victims.
Speaking about the situation with GBV and TIP in Sri Lanka, Ramani Jayasundere, Program Director,
at The Asia Foundation Sri Lanka explained the interplay between TIP and GBV, and how TIP is
treated differently from GBV. She spoke of how GBV is based on gender inequalities in a patriarchal
system and unequal power relations between men and women. TIP is also based on unequal power
relations but is a complex crime driven by criminal syndicates to earn profit. Dr. Jayasundere added
that TIP is one of the worst forms of GBV, and that GBV is an important driver of human trafficking
and a tool to control women, children and men.
Chandima Arambepola from CEPA, speaking at the event, highlighted some crucial findings in Sri
Lanka. “It is very difficult to get people to talk about it,” she said in reference to the issue of
trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka, adding, “Trafficking is not understood well enough in Sri Lanka as
opposed to GBV and because of this not a lot of TIP is reported. When understanding is weak, then
identification is compromised. Even among those who understand the context of TIP, women are
mostly recognized as victims which excludes potential male victims and members of the LGBTQI

On making recommendations on optimizing screening and support services for GBV and TIP victims,
the Sri Lanka Country report broadly recommends a focus on preventative measures/efforts,
reaching out to marginalised groups, strengthening understanding among Police Officers at the
District Secretariat level on how to identify GBV and TIP, strengthening capacity of Police Officers at
the local stations and sensitising public health officials to identify trafficking as a form of violence.
The national studies on ‘Optimizing Screening and Support Services for Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
and Trafficking in Persons (TIP)’ were conducted by FXB India Suraksha (India), Social Science Baha
(Nepal), and Centre for Poverty Analysis (Sri Lanka) in partnership with The Asia Foundation and with
support from the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Office. The multi-country study
provides an overview of the screening and identification services, and the possibility of integrating
services for victims of Gender-Based Violence and Trafficking in Persons. It highlights the gaps in the
screening process for victim identification and the resultant service delivery and includes
recommendations to improve screening and identification of victims of GBV and TIP.

The full report can be accessed here: Optimizing Screening and Support Services for GBV and TIP
Victims Archives – The Asia Foundation

About The Asia Foundation:
The Asia Foundation is a non-profit international development organization committed to improving
lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local
expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and
gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and
international relations. Headquartered in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation works through its
network of offices in 18 Asian countries. Read more about the Foundation’s work at

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