ECONOMYNEXT - Women and children in Sri Lanka's North are being exploited to produce rape tapes and snuff videos by members of the community who are returning from abroad to prey on them, a legislator said.
"There is a rape film industry," Bimal Ratnayake, a legislator for Sri Lanka's Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna told parliament.
"This is a great tragedy. It is being done by members of the area who had gone abroad.
"They come back for a period and engage in this racket. This is not a lie. We know this."
Ratnayake said the rape and murder of a school girl in the Pukuduthivu, which gained wide publicity had had also been filmed.
"This was not just a rape. It was video taped for sale," he said.
He said the problem was known to be happening in the islands in Jaffna and remote areas in the Vanni where there was extreme poverty.
"It is being done willingly in some cases for money and by force in others," Ratnayake said.
"If some one promises 100,000 rupees, it is big amount. For many years a person cannot earn such a sum."
He said the government should take action to counter the problem.
Ratnayake said according to known statistics there were about 90,000 war widows in the North including 38,000 in Jaffna, who were undergoing great hardships and sexual harassment.
During rising alcoholism, domestic violence was also on the rise, he said.
Though he had not personally gone to verify the data, a women's activist in the region had said that a large number of widows numbering about 50,000 were below 30 to 40 years of age, even 10 years after the war.
"During the women got married at the age of 15 and 16 to avoid being recruited for the war," he said. "In some cases there have also been divorces."
He said under the government's definition a war widow was classified as a person whose husband was lost during the war and was entitled to government help. It could be a militant or other person he said.
But some of them had got married during war time did not have government documents to prove it and in the case of a divorce also they were not caught in the statistics, and government programs he said.
There were tens of thousands more widows on that basis he said.
He said the government should change the definition and help them also. He said the actual female headed households may about 30,000 higher. (Colombo/Mar14/2019)