(20.02.2013 10:02 SLT – nation.lk)
Jakarta and Colombo yesterday blew the lid of a Spa worker scandal where over one thousand Indonesian Spa workers from Bali Island have entered Sri Lanka illegally and working in Spa parlors and Massage clinics. The Head of the Agency for the Service, Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (BP3TKI) in Jakarta, Denpasar Wayan Pageh has confirmed to Colombo that there were over 1000 illegal Spa workers in Colombo. In Colombo, a top police official said they too have been informed of the Bali Spa worker scandal, mainly involving a large number of Indonesian women and the matter was now being investigated with raids conducted on night clubs and Spas’ catering to the upper middle class and the affluent class in Colombo.
He added that not only Indonesian women but also Russian and Thai women were involved in the Spa scene but practically engaged in prostitution catering to a ‘well paid’ clientele who patronized such places often. Asked whether the police had rounded up any Indonesian women at those Spas and night clubs, the top police official quipped, ‘Well, nationalities and numbers cannot be divulged as we are dealing with this issue at diplomatic level’. He said the government through the External Affairs Ministry had informed the Indonesian government to intervene early before these illegal workers were apprehended and deported. BP3TKI Head in Jakarta, Pageh was quoted in Jakarta by the media as saying that he had received a letter from the Indonesian Embassy in Colombo seeking an early solution to the influx illegal Spa workers issue. According to Pageh, the Indonesianmission in Colombo had intimated to Jakarta that out of the 1400 Spa workers from Bali only hundreds have come officially and the rest were illegal workers.
Jakarta is now working closely with its mission here to resolve the issue of illegal Spa workers and Indonesian officials from its Colombo mission will meet Pageh on Friday (22). They claimed the illegal Spa workers have arrived in Colombo independently or through an illegal agent. The Indonesian mission in Colombo which had probed the issue had reported to Jakarta that those workers are often exploited.
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