SRI LANKA'S BEACH BOYS
While Sri Lanka is becoming increasingly well-known for its lush tropical landscape, its sparkling waters, and its golden sands, a sordid reality lurks beneath the outward displays of beauty. For many hapless boys and young men, the beautiful beaches are little more than work sites where they barter their bodies to tourists from wealthier parts of the world. Driven by poverty, the young local males sell their bodies to eager female and male visitors. Authorities are fully aware of the situation and have recently instituted programs to help these young boys. While the implementation of the programs has seen a reduction in the numbers of so-called ‘beach boys’, the noxious trade nevertheless continues to thrive, particularly amongst young men.
Manju Hettarage, a 27 year old from nearby Beruwala, has been working as a beach boy for about five years and does so for ‘enjoyment’. “We mainly service wealthy European females and males…they want the sex to be discreet and private…we generally go to their hotel…I make about $100 USD per client, some give more. I want to give it up though”.
Maesh Ratnayaka, also 27 and from Beruwala, says he is a beach boy because he has to be; it is his primary source of income. “I do it for a living, but I have many girlfriends and I go home back to my normal life in between. December is the busiest time for us, with about 40 guys on the beaches. We get lots of Russian tourists.. They’re ‘sexy’, they all just want sex, no emotional connection. We also get gay male tourists and they pay a lot more money…I want to move to Germany and find a nice wife; I’ve been there before, one of them paid for me to live there with her”.
RENEE MELIDES, 2011.