The Sri Lankan police said Tuesday that they are on the hunt for more than 20 local television actresses who are believed to be part of a prostitution ring.
Over the past few weeks, the police have arrested four actresses who were involved in prostitution at various locations in Colombo and areas most frequented by tourists, police said.
Police said the arrest of popular local actresses, both young and old, being involved in prostitution had blown the lid on what is believed to be a major undercover prostitution ring.
The Sri Lankan police have now sought public assistance to locate the whereabouts of 20 actresses who have gone into hiding.
Apart from local prostitutes, Sri Lanka is also known to have foreign sex workers working in clubs which mainly cater to tourists.
A recent U.S. State Department report said Sri Lankan women and children are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels in the country, especially in the Anuradhapura area in north central Sri Lanka.
In 2009, Sri Lanka`s National Child Protection Authority estimated that approximately 1,000 children were subjected to commercial sexual exploitation within the country although some agencies believed the actual number was between 10,000 and 15,000.
Agencies expressed concern that the recent increase in tourism in the very poor post-conflict areas on the east coast of Sri Lanka may increase demand for child sex tourism.