NCPA to protect  children from foreign sex offenders

by Dilanthi Jayamanne

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) yesterday said they would take measures to protect children from foreign sex offenders visiting the country.

NCPA Chairman, Anoma Dissanayake said that the increasing number of tourists visiting the country had led the NCPA to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect the country’s children.

Dissanayake said that number of visitors to the country had increased at the end of the 30-year war. The Authority was warned by Sri Lankans living in foreign countries of the impending threat of foreign pedophiles and sex offenders entering the country without a difficulty. She said that there had been several warnings given by several organisations in Sri Lanka as well.

She said that the NCPA had requested for registries of paedophiles and child sex offenders from several governments including Australian, Germany, Norway and Britain. There were organizations in those particular countries which kept such records. A majority of visitors to Sri Lana were from them, she explained.

Dissanayake said that the NCPA was collaborating with UNICEF to implement the programme.

Explaining, she said that foreign nationals could enter Sri Lanka without a hindrance as the Sri Lankan visa could be obtained online. "It is essential that we take the necessary safety measures to protect our children."

Registries were only maintained in European countries.

Child prostitution and child sex offences had been reported from a several Asian countries in the past. However, they have drastically reduced since the implementation of laws to protect children in those countries. There were possibilities of those offenders visiting Sri Lanka.

She said the NCPA would inform the Department of Immigration and Emigration once they received the lists and request them to refrain from giving visas to anyone on the list.

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