The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) highlighted that the law enforcement aspect with regard to the issue of child sex tourism was very weak and required more interest and leadership shown on the part of the Police hierarchy including the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the government.
The NCPA informed that child sex tourism and the commercial exploitation of children take place with some children engaging in it voluntarily with the active encouragement and complicity of their parents.
Chairperson of the NCPA, Dr. Natasha Balendra said that there was a misconception among the public that male children were not harmed by their involvement in such, adding that in both the short run and the long run, there were negative impacts on the children in terms of their health (risks due to various sexually-transmitted diseases), their education due to it being interrupted and psychosocial repercussions on the family life.
Deputy Chairman of the NCPA, Sajeeva Samaranayake said that the government was yet to engage with the said subject, adding that the establishment and appointment of commissions and task forces which come up with action plans (which too in turn are cover-ups) with regards to tackling the matter, were mere delays tactics on the part of the government and were not well thought out responses.
Is there any weight in what ministers or the ministers- in-charge of the said subject say about the matter? He queried.
“After the end of the war, the country was opened up for tourism. This is not a subject that is discussed. This is quite a big problem. It revolves around economic activities and has a socio-economic aspect to it. As was the case with the human smuggling and trafficking racket, involving Sri Lanka and Australia, the armed forces, Police officers and politicians are also linked to the problem. The issue may be primarily economic, but it is multifaceted and therefore requires a strong political will,” he said.