The adage to never take candy from strangers applies more than ever in the Sri Lankan city of Galle, where at least 20 children were lured into sexual abuse after becoming addicted to heroin-laced lollipops. Last week, two members of the pedophile ring were sentenced to prison in connection with the bizarre case.
The South China Morning Post reports that according to authorities, H. Amaradasa and D. Nimal, both fathers of young children, used candy suckers tainted with heroin to befriend 12- and 13-year-old children, and lure them into sexual abuse. As the children became addicted, the devious men supplied them with larger quantities. The doped-up children were then forced to participate in filmed sexual activity with tourists. The school targeted by the pedophiles, ironically, was believed by parents to be a safe haven from sex offenders.
"When they could no longer afford to pay, they were sexually abused by both men and then forced to take part in filmed sex sessions with European tourists staying in Galle," said S. Thurairaja, a prosecutor in the case.
The tourists disappeared from the country after police took the two men in for questioning, and are still at large.
In sentencing Amaradasa and Nimal to 34 years in prison each, the judge referred to the fact that both had children of their own, and said, "That makes their crimes even more depraved."
Child protection advocate Maureen Seneveratne told reporters it was one of the worst cases of child abuse to ever come before a Sri Lankan courtroom. She said the harsh sentences are "a major warning signal to pedophiles all over the world that Sri Lanka is no longer safe for them to visit."