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Rise in Russian tourists engaging in prostitution sparks concerns

20 February 2024 06:18 am - 41     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, Feb 20 (Daily Mirror) - In the wake of an influx of tourists particularly from Russia following the implementation of a visa-free entry programme, concerns have been raised regarding the involvement of some Russian female tourists, engaging in illegal activities such as prostitution during their stay in Sri Lanka, the Daily Mirror learns.

In recent months, Sri Lanka has seen a surge in international visitors, particularly from countries like India, China and Russia following the implementation of a visa-free entry programme.

Sri Lanka's decision to implement a visa-free entry programme for visitors from seven countries, including Russia, is aimed at revitalizing the tourism industry which suffered a severe setback following the Easter Sunday attacks, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political crisis last year. However, concerns have now been raised regarding the oversight of individuals exploiting this programme for illicit purposes.

According to official statistics, tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka have soared, with a remarkable 103 per cent growth recorded in January 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. In January, Sri Lanka received a total of 208,253 tourists. India topped the list with 34,399 visitors while Russia was second in the list bringing in 31,159 tourists.

It is learnt that a portion of Russian tourists arriving in Sri Lanka have been engaging in prostitution, particularly in areas like Colombo and certain star-class hotels.

It has been observed that many tourists opt to find companions through nightclubs, certain agents in hotels and women who are already working in the industry, with rates typically ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 45,000 per hour. Some local websites openly advertise these services, specifying rates and conditions. These services by Russian prostitutes primarily target VIP and VVIP customers.

This is at a time when the local sex trade also has a high demand, with more women forced to engage in prostitution to overcome the economic difficulties. The Daily Mirror recently reported that a rising number of Sri Lankan youth were engaging in prostitution to overcome the economic crisis and soaring cost of living, with charges ranging from Rs.3,000 to Rs.10,000 per hour.

When the Daily Mirror contacted the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration Harsha Ilukpitiya, he acknowledged the complexities faced by authorities in tackling this issue.

"We have allowed tourists from seven countries to arrive in the country visa-free, including Russia. We only grant these tourists a 30-day stay in Sri Lanka. However, some tourists exceed this period and return after leaving. We can only arrest tourists if they are found engaging in illegal activities, for which we require actionable information. Currently, we collaborate with the Air Force Intelligence Unit in the South to identify and deport tourists involved in illicit activities. However, we face challenges in obtaining information regarding tourists in Colombo and those staying in star-class hotels," he said.

He said the officials have conducted several raids in southern areas to identify tourists violating immigration rules and engaging in illicit businesses. "Many tourists have been arrested for offences such as money laundering, and they have been deported. Some tourists are involved in illegal activities such as money exchange and other professions during their stay," he said.

The Controller General noted that instances of tourists engaging in illegal activities such as prostitution are considered isolated incidents, making it challenging to identify and arrest those involved.

However, he affirmed plans to inform the intelligence unit to intensify efforts in tracing tourists engaged in illegal activities including prostitution in Colombo and other regions of the country.

Meanwhile, police sources said that the number of raids targeting tourists involved in illegal activities such as engaging in prostitution has reduced due to the major focus on the 'Yukthiya' operation aimed at cracking down on crime and drug-related offences.

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  Comments - 41

  • Independent Tuesday, 20 February 2024 06:44 AM

    It’s not the quantity but the quality. Most tourists coming from mentioned countries are not spenders, will bargain for even an ice cream or a roti! If no actions are taken for any tourist violating visa conditions it will get out of hand and will be bigger than Benhur to deal with. Deporting is not enough but mandatory jail time will do! Am I dreaming “Unfortunately Our politicos will protect culprits”

    Lot of misguided men crave for pale skinned woman Tuesday, 20 February 2024 06:47 AM

    It is left over of colonial past that he VIP and VVIP want to get into pale skinned woman. Also the suda and sudu look is talked up too much in some religions which in turn the mad VVIP would see as woman related.

    Jeanne Tuesday, 20 February 2024 12:26 PM

    Please shut up. You would do well to indulge in some of our country's rich colonial past. I'm sure you would rather get a pale skinned woman in your bed for free or by force if you got the chance yourself. Priceless idiot is what you are.

    Hadam Tuesday, 20 February 2024 02:16 PM

    @Jeanne, you speak the truth nothing but the truth. Making economic gains from the colonial past is okay by showing off to tourists and being hypocritical.

    Ranil was shaing hands with postitute looking woman Tuesday, 20 February 2024 06:49 AM

    Even Ranil was doing tours of tourist hotels, since he's got the scent about holding hands with overseas woman. The woman in beach bikini looked much like how prostitutes are portrayed in Western films.

    Mahila Tuesday, 20 February 2024 03:05 PM

    Personal Experience Indeed enables anyone to Speak Volumes with Confidence!!??

    Dee Tuesday, 20 February 2024 07:12 AM

    After the new government is formed, they also can join the topless parade from the south to Colombo!

    Shiiraan Monday, 26 February 2024 09:49 AM

    Yes have to thank the JVP/NPP as this age old professional will be legalised under a government ( dreaming) of theirs .

    Discounts for before off-peak business Tuesday, 20 February 2024 07:13 AM

    Local woman give good value for activity during morning better than Rs. 3000. Evening is high prices as lot of demand for sex services then.

    VJ Tuesday, 20 February 2024 07:24 AM

    Are we concerned our locals are in for a tough competition? Russians are looking for business with pleasure. Can we be selective in this business of tourism? They come for their happiness and not to improve our tourist industry. There is nothing known as a free lunch.

    Ranga Tuesday, 20 February 2024 08:14 AM

    Everyone needs to calm down Tourism come with other not so desirable add on Sri Lanka needs to chill a bit

    Priyanee Wijesekera Tuesday, 20 February 2024 08:27 AM

    Tell the NPP

    Tissa Fernando Tuesday, 20 February 2024 10:06 AM

    They plan to legalise it so , they can collect taxes. Not a bad idea though.

    Some don't think about catching diseases Tuesday, 20 February 2024 08:43 AM

    Same thing happened in Dubai. Even though everyone says Dubai law is tough on such matters, in some areas, Russian prostitutes are roaming right in front of hotels wearing skimpy clothes.

    D P P Prasad Tuesday, 20 February 2024 08:54 AM

    The introduction of the free visa entry is very dangerous. Through this process certain notorious characters like drug traffickers human traffickers prostitutes may visit Srilanka hassle free. Subsequently they can create numerous social and economic crises unprecedented. Although the government initiates the money oriented programmes like this eventually our heritage and culture will be devastated unknowingly

    Wixie Tuesday, 20 February 2024 08:58 AM

    VT, Vibrant Tourism OR Vanish Totally

    Jeanne Tuesday, 20 February 2024 12:27 PM

    @Wixie : What exactly is your point?

    MONEY MONEY MONEY PICK A HONEY Tuesday, 20 February 2024 09:19 AM

    Russian women have been engaging in prostitution from decades ago, the CASINO that was operating in Colombo 3 was NOTED prostitutes operating in the CASINO, one had to be on a FOREIGN PASSPORT to get in, FREE DRINKS, BENSON

    raj soma Tuesday, 20 February 2024 09:24 AM

    SL needs to choose the path they want the country to go .... When you have open door policy these activities are bound to happen .Also , this is not new it was going on last 10 yrs and the Police knows it.. It was Russian and Thailand, before now China ,India have been added to the list .. Maybe the Govt needs to allow it for the sake of tourism to boom and make it the Sex capitol of the Indian ocean... You name it and we have them...

    Christo255 Tuesday, 20 February 2024 09:41 AM

    More tourists more prostitution that's common even in huge markets like Dubai, Singapore, Thailand so why be negative. Even if you ask for visa, nobody will say they are coming to prostitute. Illogical to say because visa free arrivals more prostitutes

    Massdeen Tuesday, 20 February 2024 10:22 AM

    It is so common if u want tourism to flourish then prostitution goes along with it, it happens in all the countries there’s nothing special about to condemn it, if u want tourism to flourish let it go this how Thailand has highest tourist arrivals

    Banda Tuesday, 20 February 2024 10:24 AM

    During these unsettling times, entrance without a visa is not a bad idea. But I doubt that any institute that plans policies or immigration regulations has conducted a feasibility assessment to determine the effects of their choice. There are benefits and drawbacks, ofcourse. However, a safety net should be in place to shield the nation, its citizens, its culture, and its environment from the invasion of unwelcome visitors.

    Syril Aiya Tuesday, 20 February 2024 10:37 AM

    This is nothing new noh

    Tourist Tuesday, 20 February 2024 11:07 AM

    When is Sri Lanka ever going to understand that it not the number that matters BUT the quality? This is what happens when Tourist Board talks of increase in tourist numbers. It is only an increase in WHITE TRASH- that here to spread all kinds of STD.

    REEZ Tuesday, 20 February 2024 11:15 AM

    Charger 18% VAT then they wont come

    Harrish Ahuja Tuesday, 20 February 2024 12:26 PM

    MEN IN THIS COUNTRY PRESSURIZED LIKE PEPSI CANS WITH THE FEELINGS , LET THEM RELEASE THE PRESSURE WITH THESE WOMAN.... DO NOTHING ABOUT THIS PLS

    Lovedoctor Tuesday, 20 February 2024 02:25 PM

    Agree 100%. We need this kind of services. For those who scream about destroying our culture etc, this was part of the culture in ancient times as well. Courtesans were accepted and respected members of ancient society.

    Mahila Tuesday, 20 February 2024 03:23 PM

    A much needed break and Importantly, 'SPARK' to 'DOWSE', inclination to get closer to any women or child in Town, Village or Beach!!!??? Enables to control the Peoples Natural Instincts and Desire are kept under Check and Control, to ensure these people aren’t pressured to force their will on to disinclined parties!!?? Ofcourse, anyone prohibited from "plunging into", such Luxuries and Comforts, for their own Self-Manifested Reasons, may OBJECT to it!!?? That’s UNDERSTANDABLE too!!?? All are Humans, and Human Instinct is to WANT, DESIRE or CRAVE for whatever is DEPRIVED or TABOOED, and denounce whoever access!!???

    Jayaseeli Christiansen Tuesday, 20 February 2024 12:33 PM

    I have commented about attracting "Quantity" instead "Quality", which Sri Lanka looks like going forward! If Sri Lanka need to have quality

    DOT Tuesday, 20 February 2024 01:09 PM

    Risk of the trade !

    Navi Tuesday, 20 February 2024 01:45 PM

    Do not humiliate Russians. When we had no Tourists coming, they came to SL. then, they were good. Why now? Its a personal choice whether to have sex with a Russian or not. Its upto us and not for the Russians. We are the sex maniacs. blame ourselves.

    shelliah Tuesday, 20 February 2024 01:48 PM

    Sex trade can be registered and pay tax, is like western world is not a problem. free world free living Democratic world should accept what the people wish. we are missing lot of tax sysytem the reson we have lost our ecconomy. can people imagine one general hosbital to run a day how much money we spend per day its millions. free education free medicine free food for low income families low tax for properties owners ,there are lot of rich have many acres of and do they pay proper tax? No everything free and how to build our country good or we are in dept.

    Lal Tuesday, 20 February 2024 01:49 PM

    Last month around 30,000 Russian tourists have visited SL, Normally one tourist spent 800-1000 $ for 10 days of their tour to SL. 1/4 of this income is going to the low income families in SL. So we need think how to protect those tourist and implement effective low to regulate doing business under tourist visa.

    Rip Winkle Tuesday, 20 February 2024 01:50 PM

    What's wrong with choosing Vodka over Arrack if you can afford it?

    LoveDoctor Tuesday, 20 February 2024 02:21 PM

    So what exactly is the problem? Make love not war!!!

    Terrence K Tuesday, 20 February 2024 04:43 PM

    All those who like this subject of prostitution have no understanding of the consequences when one has several partners and the chances of being an HIV patient. Look at the African continent the government is grappling with the HIV virus which have ruined societies whilst there is a strain on the limited medical services which leads to death. When a person becomes infected with HIV the virus attacks and weakens the immune system. As the immune system weakens the person is at risk for getting life threatening infections and Cancers, The illness is called AIDS. Once the person has the virus inside the body it remains for life. Whilst on one side the country is promoting tourism on the other side of the coin it will have offer special services to this category of infected people!!!!!!!!!

    ANNECUNT Tuesday, 20 February 2024 06:56 PM

    Russians do it nicely untill you came out fully.that is why NAMAL went to Russia

    Ravana Wednesday, 21 February 2024 12:13 PM

    Since we are opening casinos to earn from foreigners, let them earn off us, to bet at casinos. Can't legalise cannabis but can do all the other ways to earn from foreigners. Let's see for how many more years

    Piyapala Ganthattu Wednesday, 21 February 2024 03:15 PM

    Good for RW to see all free shows but can do nothing since the age of 15!

    ANNECUNT Friday, 23 February 2024 08:32 PM

    NAMAL does not need to RUSSIA anymore they come here looking for NAMAL

    Oberver Wednesday, 28 February 2024 08:11 AM

    I thought the prostitution is illegal activity by law in Sri Lanka. Now we openly talk about Russian prostitutes practices in the island. I doubt the politicians get also some comfort from them.Otherwise it won’t go so far.Where is the law and order? May be it’s apply to only locals.

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