Colombo, Jan 26 (Agencies): In order to prevent exploitation of young females moving abroad for jobs, Sri Lanka has increased the minimum age of domestic workers from 18 to 21 years for women migrating as domestic workers.

Many countries which employ Sri Lankan women, mainly as housemaids, did not have a minimum age of employment and that it led to abuses of children, the country's Information Department said.

"Majority of labour receiving countries do not have a minimum age limit for females to be taken in for employment, especially for the domestic sector," it said in a statement.

"A tendency for abuses and vulnerability to different forms of exploitation appears to be commonly associated with young female domestic workers abroad."

It said more than half of Sri Lankan women going overseas for employment sought jobs as housemaids. Over a million Sri Lankans are employed abroad and a majority of them are women.

In 2005, a 17-year-old Sri Lankan girl was sentenced to death for killing a four month-old baby in her care at a home in Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka's plea for clemency is pending.

Foreign remittances is a key source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka with its expatriate work force sending home a record USD 4.1 billion in 2010, up from USD 3.3 billion in 2009.