Floating Markets set up in Pettah on the lakes along the Sebastian Mawatha, Pettah have now turned a lover’s paradise during the day and brothels by night manned by pimps and touts in the heart of the city, an investigation by Nation revealed.

It is reported that organized groups of touts and pimps control the floating markets that are now left idle without business.

During the day, young lovers are allowed to get into these floating markets purchasing a cool drink and they are charged for the number of hours they spend inside a market. ‘They are charged Rs.100 for the first hour followed by Rs.50 for every additional hour’, the investigation revealed.

These markets turn brothels past 10pm as sex workers languishing on the roads opposite the Fort Railway Station and Pettah Bus Stand area arrive with their ‘captured’ clients. The area is deserted at that time and a fee of Rs. 1000 is levied by the ‘caretakers’ who control these floating markets to provide possession.

Nation   inquired from the Police why these floating markets are not raided or checked and the police claimed they engage in ‘routine’ mobile patrols in the area. ’We have arrested several sex workers inside those floating markets but they continue to engage in prostitution on these floating markets’, a senior police officer said.

He said it was difficult to wipe out the menace and it was up to the Colombo Municipality or the Urban Development Authority to dismantle those floating markets which are left to idle without business. ’Some touts sell cool drinks in one or two floating markets to carry out this anti-social menace’, he added. (PG)