Sexual healing on the Kenyan Coast: Part 2

Seasonal Trade

The trade ebbs and flows with the seasons. News spreads through the grapevine when large numbers of tourists arrive, and then so do the sex workers. For example, when a ship docks in the port of Mombasa, with a cargo of big-spending and fun-loving US Marines, sex workers – male and female – flood the town in the hope of getting their hands on some coveted greenbacks.

There are an estimated 4161 sex workers in Msambweni district

Then there are the cottages, which are the bane of volunteers such as Martha and Gabriel. Behind their steel gates and perimeter fences where the volunteers can’t enter as they can in hotels and pubs, sex tourism takes on different shapes, sometimes including pornography, sadomasochism, child abuse and even fatalities.

Gabriel feels very strongly about the fact that some parents go with their kids into clubs to fish for clients, some of these youngsters aged only 15. He also tells me of a local guy who regularly wife-swaps with a tourist; they trust each other so much that when this couple visits, the local couple are the only people they do “business” with.

Martha tells me another story. “Recently, there was a tourist who was all over a guy from this area. He wears studs in both ears and we all know that he’s a male sex worker. He was dragging the local man to a car, saying that he’d spent a lot of money on him and it was time to pay up. The scene is changing. If a female sex worker is waiting for a client, and a male sex worker sits beside her, also waiting for a client, believe it or not, but the guy will probably beat her to it; male sex workers are in high demand.”

Drug abuse has also fuelled sex tourism, because it’s an easy way to get money for a fix. Victims are too out of it to take note of the vicious cycle in which they find themselves.

Continued on next page

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  1. Avatar Otieno Lawrence September 19th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    this is just so sad!

  2. Avatar upuzi_tele September 20th, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Blame it on failed leadership. Such things only happens in countries that there no leadership worth talking about.

  3. Avatar Dogonasi September 21st, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Where there are tourists….you can expect prostitution. Yes we are an African country and cannot afford to be portrayed in bad light but should no one complain especially about the coastal region which has been left soo education deprived for so long notwithstanding the ample resources and in this case……tourism….prostitution….drugs…beach boys

    1. Avatar Jackline Kimani October 13th, 2012 at 11:51 am

      For some reason sex, drugs and tourism are like yin and yang, no matter where. Even in Europe at the ski resorts of Austria and Switzerland, in Cote d’Azur France or Derbies in Cheshire England a lot of sex workers and drug dealers, drop by this places, the sad thing is, most of them are poor economic backgrounds(Eastern Europeans, Africans and Latinas) and the local youth is washed up in drugs so badly they never built a life for themselves. A good solution is to regulate and educate


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