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With more women taking up as family breadwinners in Sri Lanka’s former war zone - the island’s north - the region is recording an increase in women turning to survival sex.
According to estimates by local groups working with women to boost their incomes, the number of women engaged in sex work is said to be as many as 7,000, considered by some as a conservative estimate.
Before emigrating from Sri Lanka, many migrant workers go into debt to pay high recruitment fees imposed by unscrupulous labor recruitment agencies—most of them members of Sri Lanka’s Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies—and their unlicensed sub-agents.
Children are also reportedly subjected to bonded labor and forced labor in dry-zone farming areas on plantations, and in the fireworks and fish-drying industries.Within the country, women and children are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels.Boys are more likely than girls to be forced into prostitution in coastal areas for child sex tourism.“They bear economic burdens once carried by their fathers, husbands or brothers.Poverty and lack of options are driving women to adopt commercial sex as an income generator,” Vishaka Dharmadasa, head of the Association of War Affected Women, an NGO based in Kandy (Central Province) that has programming on livelihood and public health, explained.
Sri Lanka's modern educational system was brought about by its integration into the British Empire in the 19th century.