Colombo (Fides Service) – Catholics in Colombo are strongly objecting to a petition being circulated in the city to legalise prostitution and organise sexual trade in certain areas of the Sri Lankan capital. The city’s sex trade is particularly flourishing in a southern district of Colombo where most of the nigh clubs, gambling halls and entertainment centres, frequented by locals and tourists, are located.
This activity brings considerable profit for district residents who are asking for sex trade to be legalised. In the present situation of economic crisis in Sri Lanka entertainment, especially for tourists, is a source of income on which many rely.
But the Catholic community protests. They say the increase in centres for entertainment is the cause of growing prostitution, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, paedophilia. In fact Sri Lanka is known as a favourite destination for European and American paedophiles. According to UNICEF every year at least 300,000 children in Sri Lanka are subject to sexual abuse by paedophile tourists. Moreover, it is known, prostitution is a major factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS.
To discourage this evil activity which harms Sri Lankan society, the local Catholics say it is necessary to fight, not legalise, prostitution and sex tourism, underlining that alongside the sex trade there is a flourishing hot bed for alcohol and drugs trading and other criminal activity. In this effort to oppose the legalisation of prostitution Christians in Colombo have been joined Muslims who say that Islam is also contrary to prostitution and they call for more severe laws and penalties for offenders. PA (Fides Service 10/9/2003 EM lines 33 Words: 327)