Surge in Russian Tourists Raises Concerns Over Prostitution in Sri Lanka: Police Report Involvement of Female Russian Tourists in Prostitution

February 20, 2024

In the wake of increase in tourism, particularly from Russia, following the implementation of a visa-free entry programme, concerns have been raised regarding the involvement of some Russian female tourists in illegal activities such as prostitution during their stay in Sri Lanka.

Since the initiation of the visa-free entry programme aimed at revitalizing the tourism industry in the aftermath of setbacks including the Easter Sunday attacks, the COVID-19 pandemic, and political instability, Sri Lanka has witnessed a surge in international visitors. Notably, arrivals from India, China, and Russia have seen a substantial rise.

Official statistics reveal a remarkable 103 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in January 2024 compared to the same period last year, with a total of 208,253 tourists visiting Sri Lanka.

Among these, Russia ranked second with 31,159 visitors.
Reports indicate the involvement of some Russian tourists in prostitution activities, particularly in areas like Colombo and certain star-class hotels. These tourists engage in such activities targeting VIP and VVIP customers, with rates ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 45,000 per hour.

Authorities face challenges in addressing this issue, with Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, Harsha Ilukpitiya, acknowledging the difficulties in identifying and apprehending tourists engaged in illicit activities.