Sriyani* is a young woman in her early 30s. She had eloped with a boy from her village and had gone to a neighbouring village. There she had been sold to a brothel by her partner for Rs. 5000. She did not have any money with her and was unable to buy her freedom from the brothel owner. So she stayed on and engaged in sex work till she could pay him off and leave the brothel. Thereafter she could not go back home because of the stigma of having eloped. So she came to Colombo and now engages in sex work.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy. A story narrated to me while I was doing research on HIV / AIDS in Sri Lanka during 2004/2005.