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SL takes step to curb sex tourism

The Sri Lankan police plans to set up a special unit to curb Child Sex Tourism, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 22:15 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

The Sri Lankan police on Friday announced a plan to set up a special police unit to curb Child Sex Tourism (CST), which is a major menace in the island country.

"Such a unit is essential and timely," said Jagath Keenawinna, Senior Superintendent of Police (Crimes) Women and Children's wing at a seminar on CST here on Friday.

According to Viktor Nylund, Head of the Child Protection Unit at UNICEF, up to 20,000 Sri Lankan children may be involved in child sex tourism.

Western European tourists flock to Sri Lanka not only because of its lush green tropical landscape, high altitude tea gardens and palm fringed beaches, but also because of the availability of children for sex.

Some time ago, The Sunday Leader had exposed the promotion of Sri Lanka as a paedophile's paradise on German television.

Police officer Keenawinna said that CST was found not only in the beach resorts but also inland, in places like Polonnaruwa, Medirigiriya and Anuradhapura which were Buddhist pilgrim centres.

He further said that the sexual abuse of kids could spread AIDS.

Experts believed that there could be about 6,000 unreported cases of AIDS in Sri Lanka, he added.

Tourist Board chairman Udaya Nanayakkara said that CST was a "major problem" in Sri Lanka and pledged his organisation's full support to any plan by the police to curb the menace.

Many resorts and hotels on Sri Lanka' western coastline have put up notices warning guests about the presence of pimps on the beach.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 16:51 IST