NEWS: '100 kids abused daily' in Sri Lanka

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Subject: NEWS: '100 kids abused daily' in Sri Lanka
From: Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Date: Fri Feb 12 1999 - 09:22:26 EST


BBC World: South Asia
'100 kids abused daily' in Sri Lanka

             Boys are lured away from rural areas

             By Colombo Correspondent Susannah Price

             The first scientific study on the scale of child sexual abuse in
             Sri Lanka has concluded that 100 young people are sexually
             exploited or abused every day on the island.

             The draft report prepared by a local organisation called
             Protecting Children and Environment Everywhere found that
             while foreign paedophiles came to Sri Lanka to have sex with
             young boys, it was girls who suffered most from abuse within
             the community.

             The scale of the abuse has never been widely investigated.
             The researchers into this first draft study on sexually
             exploited and abused children concluded there were between
             10,000-15,000 boys involved in the sex trade, not only in
             beach areas but also in the hill country and near other tourst
             sites.

             They found the boys were mostly aged between eight and 15
             and while most of them came from fishing hamlets and coastal
             villages, about a third were lured from the inland rural areas
             by promises of work.

             The study said most foreigh paedophiles came from western
             Europe but pointed out the involvement of local agents and
             pimps.

             The authors also highlighted the plight of what they termed
             the bonded children, aged from five upwards who are kept
             virtual prisoner in houses run by international rings and who
             are used to prostitution and pornography.

             In addition, the report looked at sexual abuse within the
             family or community and interviewed 100 victims, nearly all of
             them girls.

             They found that many of them had one parent, usually the
             mother who was working abroad, and the victims were easy
             prey because they were unsupervised.

             The report found there was almost no rehabilitation or
             counselling available for victims who are often stigmatised by
             society.

             Currently, sexually abused children are sent to remand or
             detention homes where offenders and victims live
             side-by-side.

             One activist warned that without help, the victims often
             ended up as criminals, drug addicts or abusers themselves.

             The government and concerned agencies need to act
             urgently to help he said, otherwise the cycle will simply
             continue.


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