Current information on children, including the sale of children by their parents and the situation of orphans and refugee children [LKA19093.E]

According to a professor of political science specializing in Sri Lankan affairs at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, prior to a Sri Lankan government ban on the sale of children for the purpose of adoption, some poor Sri Lankan families had sold their babies to Scandinavians (29 Nov. 1994). Although uncertain about the exact date, the professor states that the government ban took effect in the mid 1980s. As a result, those who wish to adopt children are now required to follow a legal procedure. The professor states that some poor young boys, mainly in Colombo, act as male prostitutes for western European homosexuals, but their parents are not involved in these activities (ibid.).

The professor states that there are no government assistance programmes specific to children. However, there is a welfare programme for poor individuals and other social assistance programmes such as free education and medical care, which are also available to refugee children and orphans. The source adds that there are government-subsidized Catholic and Buddhist orphanages.

Country Reports 1993 states that the Sri Lankan government is "formally committed to protecting the welfare and rights of children, but its ability to do so in practice has been limited by its lack of resources" (1994, 1394).

Responses to Information Requests LKA18178.E of 1 September 1994 and LKA13150 of 12 February 1993 provide information on the facilities available to Sri Lankan children, including orphans and refugees.

The attached articles provide information on a variety of issues, including child trafficking in Sri Lanka and government efforts to stop it, and government programmes for orphans and street and abused children, during the period 1991 to 1994.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993. 1994. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Professor of political science specializing in Sri Lankan affairs, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Telephone interview.


Reuters. 27 July 1993. BC Cycle. "Child Abuse Ad Draws Flood of Sri Lankan Complaints." (NEXIS)

The Xinhua General Overseas News Service. 19 April 1994. "Tough Laws to Prevent Child Trafficking in Sri Lanka." (NEXIS)

. 5 August 1993. "Sri Lanka Plans to Protect Children." (NEXIS)

. 25 July 1992. "800,000 Sri Lankan Children in 'Especially Difficult Circumstances'." (NEXIS)

. 2 July 1993. "Sri Lanka Launches Street Children Rehabilitation Project." (NEXIS)

. 24 April 1992. "Precautions to Prevent Child Adoption in Sri Lanka." (NEXIS)

. 5 June 1991. "Sri Lanka Children Given for Adoption Inadequate." (NEXIS)

. 8 May 1991. "Illegal Baby Trade Organization Busted in Sri Lanka." (NEXIS)

. 10 April 1991. "New Laws Approved in Sri Lanka to halt Baby Trade." (NEXIS)