Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: EPDP Sold Jaffna Children: Girls To Prostitution Rings And Boys To Slavery

“The children are sold into slavery, usually boys to work camps and girls to prostitution rings, through EPDP’s networks in India and Malaysia. Sunthararaj maintains that children are often smuggled out of the country with the help of a corrupt Customs and Immigration official at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.”  the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda and President Rajapaksa

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and discuses Sri Lanka’s paramilitary operations. The cable was written by the Ambassador Robert O. Blake on May 18, 2007.

“Sunthararaj’s story was partially verified by Government Agent Ganesh, who stated that the EPDP works in concert with the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to operate Tamil prostitution rings for the soldiers. Ganesh stated that young women were taken and forced to have sex with between five and ten soldiers a night. Sometimes they are paid approximately a dollar for each “service.” The young women’s parents are unable to complain to authorities for fear of retribution and because doing so would ruin the girls’ reputation, making it impossible for them ever to marry.” the ambassador further wrote.

We publish below the relevant part of the cable;

Related posts to this cable;

WkiLeaks: Gota Authorized Paramilitary Operations – Sri Ranga

WikiLealks: Major General Chandrasiri Confided MOD Instruction To US

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 06 COLOMBO 000728 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS
MCC FOR S GROFF, D TETER, D NASSIRY AND E BURKE 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: GSL COMPLICITY IN PARAMILITARY
FACTIONS' HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES 

REF: A. COLOMBO 591
     ¶B. COLOMBO 561
     ¶C. COLOMBO 463
     ¶D. COLOMBO 460
     ¶E. 2006 COLOMBO 2056
     ¶F. 2006 COLOMBO 1896
     ¶G. 2005 COLOMBO 2157
     ¶H. 2004 COLOMBO 1219 

Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr., for reasons 1.4(b, d) 

¶1.  (S) SUMMARY:  Allegations of government complicity in
crimes committed by organized paramilitary groups have
mounted in the last year.  Paramilitaries such as the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-breakaway Karuna
group and Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) have helped
the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) to fight the LTTE, to
kidnap suspected LTTE collaborators, and to give the GSL a
measure of deniability.  The GSL, which denies any links to
paramilitary groups, has recently touted its efforts to
improve its human rights record, such as the re-publication
of procedures on arrests and detentions and the appointment
of a "One-Man Commission" to investigate reported
disappearances (ref C).  However, these efforts so far appear
aimed more at improving Sri Lanka's image abroad and have yet
to produce concrete improvements in the human rights
situation.  Outside the capital, the incidence of human
rights abuses has continued, including extrajudicial
killings, abductions, child trafficking, extortion, and
prostitution.  President Rajapaksa's government, strapped for
cash, has cut direct payments to paramilitaries initiated by
former President Kumaratunga and instead turns a blind eye to
extortion and kidnapping for ransom by EPDP and Karuna.
While many of the charges against the government have been
made in public fora, a growing number of trusted Embassy
contacts, often at personal risk, have described in detail
the extent of the GSL's involvement with paramilitary groups.
 END SUMMARY.
Child Trafficking
----------------- 

¶17.  (S)  On March 26, Mr. Stephen Sunthararaj (strictly
protect), Coordinator for the Child Protection Unit of World
Vision in Jaffna, said he believes that EPDP is operating
child trafficking rings in Jaffna with a base on Delft
island, which the EPDP "owns."  Sunthararaj explained that
because of the large number of widows in Jaffna, men
associated with the EPDP, often from neighboring villages,
are used to seduce women with children, especially girls,
with the promise of economic protection.  After establishing
a relationship, the men then take the children, sometimes by
force and sometimes with the promise that they will be
provided a better life.  The children are sold into slavery,
usually boys to work camps and girls to prostitution rings,
through EPDP's networks in India and Malaysia.  Sunthararaj
maintains that children are often smuggled out of the country
with the help of a corrupt Customs and Immigration official
at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. 

¶18.  (S) Sunthararaj's story was partially verified by
Government Agent Ganesh, who stated that the EPDP works in
concert with the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to operate Tamil
prostitution rings for the soldiers.  Ganesh stated that
young women were taken and forced to have sex with between
five and ten soldiers a night.  Sometimes they are paid
approximately a dollar for each "service."  The young women's
parents are unable to complain to authorities for fear of
retribution and because doing so would ruin the girls'
reputation, making it impossible for them ever to marry.
Families have begun arranging marriages for their daughters
at a very young age in the hopes that the EPDP and soldiers
will be less likely to take them.  In addition to trafficking
in children, Sunthararaj detailed how the EPDP operates an
illicit alcohol smuggling ring using child "mules."
Blake

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