40,000 child prostitutes in Sri Lanka, says Child Rights Group
[TamilNet, Monday, 12 June 2006, 04:14 GMT]
Sri Lanka has nearly 40,000 child prostitutes and more than 100,000 children working as domestic aides, the National Child Protection Agency (NCPA) in Colombo said quoting statistics revealed by UNICEF and ILO, Colombo daily "Daily Mirror" reported in its Monday edition. The International Labor Organization (ILO) marked 12 June as "World Day Against Child Labor" to focus world attention on the urgent need to eradicate child labor.
"5,000 to 30,000 Sri Lankan boys are used by Western paedophile sex tourists," and "nearly 10,000 to 12,000 children from rural areas are trafficked and prostituted to paedophiles by organised crime groups, according to the statistics of UNICEF and the ILO," the paper said.
"The world identifies Sri Lanka as a paedophiles' paradise," the paper said.
"Although the government estimates that there are 2,000 active child prostitutes in the country, private groups claim the number is as high as 40,000. Most of these children, 80% of whom are boys, are sexually exploited in tourist centres and are trafficked around the country to serve the tourists," the paper said.
Sri Lanka has ratified all eight human rights conventions of the ILO, including the two-core conventions on Child Labor, the paper said, adding that nearly 35,000 children were now employed mainly at shops and small factories.
"Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), Padmini Wetthawa, said the plight of Sri Lankan children was in a dire situation as the number of children being trafficked and being forcibly recruited as child soldiers to the LTTE was rising rapidly despite having various awareness programmes," the paper said.
"The prostitution and child labor figures are indeed shocking. The number of cases, 1400, the UNICEF has accused the LTTE of child recruitment pales with these figures. Of the 1400 more than 800 are now 18-years or older, 400 are between 17-years and 18-years, and only 200 are under 16 years. We are meticulously tracking every one of the under-16's to resolve these cases with the UNICEF officials," Dr N Malathy, Secretary at the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) located in Kilinochchi told TamilNet.