925 persons tried to flee by boat – Navy

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Nine hundred and twenty-fivepersons had tried to flee Sri Lanka by boat in the last six months, the Navy said.

In 2021, there were only 127 attempts to leave by boat, Navy Spokesman, Captain Indika de Silva said.

Between 1 January and 21 July, 925 persons tried to leave Sri Lankaby boat citing the economic crisis and the Navy arrested them on the high seas. However, over 80 Tamils, including children and infants, fled to Tamil Nadu by boat in the last few months, according to reports.

Captain de Silva said out of 925, 48 personswere arrested for trying to leave for Tamil Nadu, 13 were arrested for trying to leave for Canada (final destination), and 864 were arrested while trying to flee to Australia by boat.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the National Border Management Committee (NBMC) from 2018, under the Ministry of Defence, coordinates border control functions and relevant operations of other agencies and has drafted and approved Sri Lanka’s Integrated Border Management Strategy.

Sri Lanka has criminalised trafficking in persons and is implementing a five-year national action plan to prevent and combat human trafficking through its National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

Sri Lanka is also an active member of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan