Widows driven into prostitution
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 October 1998, 14:36 GMT]
A guest house in Orr's Hill, a suburb of Trincomalee town, was surrounded last night by angry locals who called the Police to raid the premises, said sources. The residents alleged that the guest house was operating as a brothel at night, they said.
The Police arrested several women whom they suspected to be prostitutes (prostitution is illegal in Sri Lanka).
Among these, were two young Tamil widows who had been brought to the 'guest house' from remote villages in Mutur, south of Trincomalee.
Police sources said that a group of thugs and pimps in Trincomalee town are preying on the increasing number of widows in the villages of this eastern district.
In an interesting co-incidence, Mr.S Suntharalingam, the manager of 'Anpu Illam', a Trincomalee orphanage, who gave evidence before the "Fact-finding Citizens' Committee on Border Villages Severely Affected by the North-east War", yesterday said that more than six thousand young women in the Trincomalee district have been become widows due to the war.
The fact-finding Committee heard evidence yesterday at the Trincomalee town hall.
Mr. Suntharalingam said that more than five thousand children have been orphaned and that eighteen thousand children have lost either parent in the district as a direct consequence of the war.
He pointed out that the death of the sole breadwinner in many families have driven many women and children in the villages to extreme poverty.
The situation, according to him, is being exploited by organised gangs which lure children and widows away from families pauperised by the death of their bread winners.
Children are sent into semi-slavery as domestics and widows are inveigled or forced into prostitution he said in his evidence.
The 'Anpu Illam' was started in 1983 to look after 26 children who were orphaned in the anti-Tamil violence of 1983. There are 192 children in this orphanage now.