It was a quick dean in the urban city center of Maradana. The room was a wayside makeshift shop which was a wooden enclosure.
The shop had closed a few days ago and now there was Siripala who was telling me how I could have a pleasurable half an hour for three thousand rupees. After a little bargaining, they agreed to tell me their story for three thousand rupees. Siripala had lost his job in the hotel just in front of the makeshift enclosure. More than 10,000 hotels have closed within the last few months and more are closing due to the high energy cost. AS Siripala had a good knowledge of the sex trade that was happening in the area he started his own in the makeshift enclosure which was a shop that had closed down a few weeks ago.
Suramya is one of Siripala’s redroots who was willing to provide her services for fifty percent of the fee paid by clients.
Surya is one of the many women who have been forced to the streets to make ends meet. Stand-up Movement Lanka (SUML), a group that works for the rights of sex workers has compiled data on sex workers and reviled that there has been an increase of 30 percent in prostitution in the last few months.
Some of these establishments operate as spas and wellness centers. Many say that this is the only way to provide their families with three meals a day.
Suramya had been working at a daycare center and due to the corona pandemic the daycare center closed down she started in odd jobs and nothing gave her enough money to feed her children. There was little or no contribution from her husband who was a drug addict.
Suramya, the 40-year-old mother said that although sex work is the last thing she would like to do still it makes her happy as she can put some food on the table for her family
“ with all that has happened I don’t care any more , last night the police came and questioned me when I was trying to get some business in the adjoin street corner and I told them off and they just mowed away.”
She said that as sex on the street happens in a well-organized manner she feels safe.
She also confirmed what the former Sirisena said recently. Sirisena said that Sri Lanka’s latest currency collapse is driving girls into the sex trade in a manner that was difficult to imagine, given their family backgrounds. Suramya pointed out to a lady in a pink saree who was talking with SIripala, the manager of the makeshift brothel and said’ look at that lady there she is a teacher at an international school, she is paid very little so she has to do this part-time “ I had to move away soon as there were three men lined up already. As I was leaving
‘ our rates are low so the demand is high’
Darshana Ruwan Wjethilaka