The hotel manager proceeds to list the various tourist attractions and activities available.
The tourist discreetly pushes a wad of cash towards the manager, saying he’s interested in ‘other’ extracurricular activities.
The hotel manager immediately understands where the foreigner’s interests lay and reaches for the cash.
The tourist says that he isn’t interested in boys over the age of sixteen.
The hotel manager simply says he can arrange for it by evening.
The tourist releases his grip on the cash as the deal is finalized.
This is what Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has come to. Child Sex Tourism.
While the tourism industry is one of the greatest income sources for our country, it has contributed to the emergence of Child Sex Tourism (CST). Child Sex Tourism refers to the sexual abuse and exploitation of children by foreign or local tourists.
In Sri Lanka, traffickers exploit children in coastal areas for commercial sex in hotels, beaches and during annual festivals. It’s been alleged that hotels allow tourists to book ‘services’ at the reception. Managers take cash and arrange for a child, male or female, to be sent to the tourist’s room. It has also been alleged that state-run orphanages, in collaboration with tuk-tuk drivers, exploit children for CST purposes.
While we may be quick to blame foreign tourists from Germany, Russia, India and China, there is a significant local demand for child sex tourism. Although this may come as a shock, upon reviewing Sri Lanka’s history of child rape and murder, it’s not surprising such pedophiles continue to exist in our community.
The root causes of CST in Sri Lanka are monetary poverty and a lack of education. Most children are forced into the commercial sex industry due to their low socio-economic backgrounds. Children are made to work instead of going to school to support their families. Most of the children trapped in the child sex trade in Sri Lanka are from extremely poor families. Parents don’t ask questions when their child goes missing for days and returns with some cash. Some parents even sell their children to Sri Lankan organized crime rings for illegal adoption and/or trafficking.
Even with the current laws in place, children barely out of their nappies are being raped, assaulted, and left for dead. Such sadistic crimes against our children will only continue to grow as tourism booms in Sri Lanka. So, the next time you see an ad promoting Sri Lankan tourism or hotel deals, I hope you’ll remember the real price being paid by our innocent children.
~ Tharika Surandi ~
Don’t have any records after 2019…