A list of names of individuals who were allegedly involved in the trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor was observed being circulated online. The article carrying the said list was being shared on social media platforms such as Facebook as well as instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp.
A website named LankaLives has published this list of names and many of those sharing this message online appear to have extracted the text from this article.
A screenshot of the said article:
We contacted Police Media Spokesperson Senior DIG Ajith Rohana in this regard.
The SDIG confirmed that such a list has not been released to the media by the Police. However, he added that the list included the names of some individuals who are currently under arrest.
According to SDIG Rohana, 41 persons have been arrested as of 13 July in relation to this incident. He added that investigations into the incident are ongoing.
We also attempted to contact the Editor/ Administrator of LankaLives.
However, the telephone number on the “Contact” page of the website appeared to be incorrect.
Furthermore, while there are some links to social media accounts on the page, these links either do not function or direct one back to the homepage of the website.
Consequently, our attempts to reach the Editor/ Administrator of the website failed.
A search using https://centralops.net/co/ revealed that the LankaLives website was created on 07 October 2020.
We also contacted a senior police officer attached to the Women and Children’s Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police which is currently investigating this incident.
The officer said, “This is a fake list. We didn’t release such a list to the media. We are still investigating this incident but we have learnt that some of the suspects’ names are also on this list”.
When asked about the progress of the investigations, the officer said:
“the police will submit a report about this to the courts and then the court will get an opinion from the Attorney General and implement the law”.
The case is taken up in Colombo Magistrate Court 06.
All forms of child abuse and exploitation, including sexual, physical and psychological abuse are serious offences.
In 2020, the National Child Protection Authority’s (NCPA) provisional data, it has received 8165 complaints related to child sexual abuse.
More information: https://tinyurl.com/jpf3ypfb
Laws, regulations and guidelines related to child rights and child protection can be found on the NCPA website here http://www.childprotection.gov.lk/?page_id=134 and on Bakamoono.lk here http://www.bakamoono.lk/en/menu/1658
The NCPA also operates 1929, a trilingual hotline to receive complaints on child abuse. The public can also obtain advice on child abuse and related matters using this hotline.
For complaints relating to online abuse of children it is also possible to contact Sri Lanka CERT on 011 2 691 692 or the Women and Children’s Bureau.
More information: http://www.childprotection.gov.lk/?page_id=249