• Ministry of Defence, Defence Headquarters Complex, Sri Jayawardenepura,Kotte, Sri Lanka


The launch of the "Uplifting Livelihoods and Promoting Safe Migration" (UPLIFT) project on March 20, 2024, at the Grand Ball Room of the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, marks a significant milestone in addressing the challenges faced by migrant returnees and vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka. This collaborative initiative between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) is poised to make substantial strides in enhancing livelihoods, skills, and promoting safe and regular migration practices.

The event was attended by an array of dignitaries and representatives from various sectors, highlighting the widespread support and commitment towards the cause. Notably, the presence of members from the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (NAHTTF) underscored the project's alignment with national and regional strategies to combat Human Trafficking. The Task Force's expertise and resources will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping the direction and success of the UPLIFT initiative.

Key figures who graced the occasion included His Excellency Katsuki Kotaro Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Japan, Mr. Sarat Dash, Chief of Mission, IOM Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Mr. R. P. A. Wimalaweera, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, and Major General Ruwan Kulatunga, the Chief of National Intelligence and the Head of Officials Committee of NAHTTF who represented the Secretary Defence.

The project overview was detailed by Ms. Minoli Don from IOM and Ms. Sriyani Ekanayake from ILO, providing clarity on the strategies and expected outcomes. Ms. Joni Simpson from ILO concluded the event with closing remarks that emphasized the importance of collective efforts and the potential impact of the UPLIFT project.

The inauguration of the UPLIFT project is not just a testament to the power of collaboration but also a beacon of hope for many. By focusing on critical areas such as capacity building, community support, and the enhancement of law enforcement capabilities, UPLIFT embodies a comprehensive strategy to tackle the complex issues surrounding migration and human trafficking.

As the project moves forward, the synergy between organizations like IOM, ILO, the Sri Lankan government, and the NAHTTF, among others, will be pivotal in realizing the vision of safe, orderly, and dignified migration for all. This initiative serves as a reminder that through united efforts, we can create meaningful change and improve the lives of those most in need.