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SOME German men were in a hotel room with three Sri Lankan village boys, aged seven, 11 and 14, having sex and filming it. They would sell the pornographic video back in Europe. The men had rented the room for a month. Downstairs, pacing around helplessly, was Maureen Seneviratne, a child rights' advocate. First she pleaded with the manager of the guest-house, a clean and proper-looking establishment shaded in the coconut groves behind Negombo beach.
It was known through paedophile circles in Britain, Sweden and Germany, and while other hotels in this popular resort suffered many vacancies, this guest-house was always full. This was the last day of the Germans' filming. They were turning the three boys loose after having subjected them to a month of degradation and sexual abuse.
In Europe, such behaviour would have brought them stiff prison sentences if caught. But in Sri Lanka, foreigners are never jailed for sex offences against children.
The pay-off for each boy was a carrier bag with a box of cereal, milk powder, chocolates, a T-shirt and dollars The Germans gave one boy a bicycle. Demonic,' Ms Seneviratne said. An ebullient woman, with grandchildren, Ms Seneviratne confronted the German video cameraman as he came out of the room. The German rubbed his fingers together.
One United States study estimated that more than million copies of videos on child pornography are circulating world-wide, and most were filmed in the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka. One raid, on a home in a Stockholm suburb in July , yielded stacks of letters between paedophiles sharing descriptions of children's bodies and sex organs.