A intimacy abuse tsunami has hit the Batticaloa district following allegations that women working for local and international NGOs have been forced into appearing in pornographic video films.
The crisis has reached such serious proportions that Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Batticaloa district MPs have requested District Secretary S. Puniyamoorthy to summon an urgent meeting with heads of both local and international NGOs in the district to probe the charges and take remedial action.
Batticaloa and Trincomalee Bishop Kingsley Swamipillai told The Sunday Times he believed such abuse had been going on for some time and he welcomed the probe.
Batticaloa`s Senior Police Superintendent Maxi Proctor said no formal complaints of such intimacyual abuse had been made yet but he had read about it in leaflets distributed by an organization.
These leaflets were issued by an organization believed to be an LTTE front and they urged women working in NGOs to resign before Tuesday and disclosed details of the abuses.
The Sunday Times learns the matter has not been officially reported to the police because the victims are afraid to come forward apparently due to the stigma attached to it and possible reprisals.
Meanwhile, the LTTE`s Batticaloa political wing leader Daya Mohan summoned a meeting of NGO representatives on Friday and told them the Tigers had evidence of intimacyual abuse of women. He warned there would be serious consequences if such abuse was not stopped.
Batticaloa district TNA Parliamentarian K.Thangeswari said they also had taken up the matter with some local and foreign NGOs and told them they need to respect local customs and traditions if they wished to work in the area.
The intimacyual abuse had allegedly taken place mainly in some of the worst tsunami-affected areas such as Nawaladi and Thiruchenthur in the Kalladi area.
The women had been subjected to abuse after they were taken to distant places on the pretext of being taken for training, according to UN project officials in Batticaloa district.
The training programmes which lasted more than a week in some cases were held in hotels and women employees were allegedly coerced into posing for pornographic videos in exchange for cash handouts. The names of four leading INGOs operating in these areas have been linked to these allegations.
More than 10,000 women are employed in nearly 300 NGOs and INGOs in these districts. Many of them were set up after the tsunami in December, 2004.
Some of the pornographic CDs are reported to be on sale or rent at video shops in the district.
The racket came to light when a lady doctor who allegedly performed some 75 abortions on the affected women made a confession. As a preliminary move to stopping the abuse, women workers have been told not to work in the NGOs or INGOs after 5 p.m. and to attend seminars only in the main offices instead of going to distant places.