Refugee women seek asylum in LTTE office
[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 March 2004, 14:40 GMT]
Twelve women from refugee camps India sought asylum at the political office of the Liberation Tigers in Vavuniya Saturday. The women said they had forcibly been kept in safe houses in Colombo by men who had promised to get them jobs abroad. People chased away a gang that tried to abduct the women when they arrived in Vavuniya by train on Saturday morning. The women alleged the gang had sexually harassed and intimidated them.
The women had been brought clandestinely by boat from South India three months ago. They said two foreign job agents who visited camps in Tamil Nadu where Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are housed had enticed many women to travel clandestinely by boat to Mannar, promising to find them jobs abroad.
More than forty women clandestinely brought over from Sri Lankan refugee camps in South India are being held in safe houses in downtown Colombo and in the suburb of Wattala, according to them.
The women alleged that some of them were brutally assaulted for refusing to have sex with the job agents.
On 21 February Police arrested on suspicion 26 women who were being held by the job agents in a safe house in Wattala. They were released on 27 February. Twelve of them managed to evade the job agents and came to Vavuniya to look for relatives and friends.
The women said their families fled to India as refugees in 1990 when war broke out in northern Sri Lanka.