Video: Sex Workers in Sri Lanka: Nimalka Fernando Speaks Out

Nov 4th, 2013 | By | Category: Culture, Human Rights, LEAD NEWS, Media, News, Opinion, Political, Social
nimalkaGovernment of Sri Lanka is trying to introduce Casinos in Sri Lanka as a part of their strategy to promote tourism in the country.

Responding to a query by a journalist from the pro government ‘The Island’ newspaper, Dr. Nimalka Fernando has reportedly said that it was an inevitable circumstance of women engaging in the sex industry with the development of tourism as women found it a way of earning money easily.

“We don’t want to stop tourism development or any kind of government project but the government leaders should be concerned about the wellbeing of women and therefore there should be laws for commercial sex workers and the trade should be legalised,” Dr. Fernando said.

She has being misquoted by another national daily newspaper claiming that Nimalka has asked the government to legalize the prostitution in Sri Lanka. Number of FM stations also reported the story creating a controversy over this issue.

Right wing Sinhala nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya, a constituent party of the UPFA government who opposes the Government’s move to introduce casinos has issued a public statement condemning Nimalka Fernando’s position.

In the circumstances rightsnow.net has asked Dr. Nimalka Fernando to clarify her position on this issue.

Related story:

Call for legalising prostitution

October 27, 2013, 9:14 pm

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Following reports that HIV positive cases continue to show an alarming increase in the country, Women Rights activists yesterday urged the government to legalise commercial sex claiming that the tourism industry would indirectly affect the reproductive health of the women in Sri Lanka.

International Movement Against all form of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) Asia Committee, Women’s Political Academy Sri Lanka (WPS), Project Director, Dr. Nimalka Fernando yesterday told The Island that it was an inevitable circumstance of women engaging in the sex industry with the development of tourism as women found it a way of earning money easily.

“We don’t want to stop tourism development or any kind of government project but the government leaders should be concerned about the wellbeing of women and therefore there should be laws for commercial sex workers and the trade should be legalised,” Dr. Fernando said.

However Dr. Fernando lashed out at the Health Ministry for not being able to start a public dialogue along with the Women’s Affairs Ministry under the theme of ‘safe sex’ to protect the country’s females.

“Those ministries think that talking about sexual protection of women is NGO’s or other oraganisation’s work, but not theirs,” she stressed.

The Health Ministry and Women’s Affairs Ministry should look at this issue, Dr. Fenando said.

According to statistics, there were around 35,000 to 47,000 female sex workers in Sri Lanka with 8,332 in Colombo alone.

But, Dr. Fenando said, the exact number of sex workers couldn’t be given without a proper system to monitor them. The exact number definitely should be higher.

The number of sex workers was increasing gradually countrywide, she said.

She pointed out that the government, specially the Health Ministry, should monitor sex workers and maintain proper statistics.

Dr. Fernado said: “There is a significant demand for sex workers even in the places where HIV/AIDS prevalent. It is a human need, therefore banning it will never be a solution. It will be a social issue as the number of HIV/AIDS cases increasing due to unprotected sex.

Courtesy – The Island
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