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Published On:Friday, September 24, 2010
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian

Vagrancy ends in prison

"This crime was committed by her husband because of a family dispute between the parents of her husband and her. From the beginning of the marriage the family life was an unsuccessful one to her. After the birth of her two children her husband had started an affair with another woman."

by Harshi. C. Perera

(September 24, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Chamila is a resident of Biyagama and the youngest in her family. She is 31-years-old and married with two children. Her husband from whom she is now separated is in prison for another case. She looks much older than her age as a result of difficulties she has under gone.

She was sentenced five times under the vagrant’s ordinance and this time was for the same offence. She has faced economic difficulties since childhood and went to school up to grade 7. She was sexually abused at the age of 13 years and she had to select the same perpetrator as her husband.

This crime was committed by her husband because of a family dispute between the parents of her husband and her. From the beginning of the marriage the family life was an unsuccessful one to her. After the birth of her two children her husband had started an affair with another woman. He had brought this woman to their own house where he used to take drugs. He engaged in small business like selling fish but did not support Chamila or the two children.

Because of her husband’s illicit love affair in front of her own eyes and economic difficulties she was mentally ill. She was admitted to Angoda mental hospital and treated there for three months. She recovered and returned home. At this time she was forced to find a job by the economic difficulties and providing the necessities of her two children.

One of her relatives found a job for her at the free trade zone in Biyagama. Her monthly allowance was Rs.24000/=. At this time she too was addicted to drugs. It was said that she was addicted to drugs because her husband brought them home and he too was a drug addict as mentioned earlier. She saved Rs.12 00 000/= from her job which she was worked for four years. She had bought her own house in Colombo using this money. But she needed more money to buy drugs and also eager to collect more money. One of her friends introduced a new job, which was prostitution. She too liked it because it helped her earn more money easily.

She met her clients near the common toilets at Petta bus stand and her earnings per day was between Rs.7000/= to 8000/=. She engaged in this job in a different manner. She intimidated weaker clients and robbed their money and valued belongings and also refused sexual intercourse with them. When a client was aggressive and more powerful she used to have sexual intercourse which she did in a safer manner using condoms. She never had any of the sexually transmitted diseases although she worked as a prostitute for seven years. She was well aware of these sexually transmitted diseases.

But she was punished by the law several times. One time she was rehabilitated in the women’s detention house. She had to be in the police stations and courts several times. Now she was in the prison for the same offence under the vagrant’s ordinance. But her mother and two children are in a house at Colombo which was bought by her and her two children are studying in two leading schools in Colombo.

In prison she is a member of the outside (Eliya) party and does cleaning and sweeping in the garden and carries heavy goods.

However, "It shall be the duty of all Prison Officers, without exception, to treat the prisoners with kindness and humanity, to inform the Jailor at his next visit of any prisoner who desires to see him."(Sri Lanka Law Report 40 Vol 1 of 2005) Tell a Friend

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