Prostitution in Kenya

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Prostitution in Kenya is illegal. However, many foreign men and women indulge in sex tourism, which is thriving at resorts along Kenya's coast. Thousands of girls and boys are involved in full-time child prostitution [1] due to poverty in the region.

Factors affecting prostitution[edit]

One of the most prominent reasons for prostitution is poverty. Many families guide their children in the direction of prostitution in order to gain salary to help support the family for food and other needs.[2] Girls in particular become extremely vulnerable and desperately need money, and this is when they become the main target for prostitution. Since prostitution is such a profitable activity many families in Kenya allow their children to get into the prostitution industry at a very young age in order to get money. In Kenya, a sexual encounter with a girl under the age of sixteen can cost twenty Euros, but can go up to as high as sixty Euros.[2] This is beneficial because the average Kenyan only earns four Euros a day which is most definitely not enough to survive. They believe that the money over powers the horrible situation they put their child through. Up to 30,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 14 are being lured into the industry after being promised with riches and trips abroad after the sexual activity is done; as we would conclude nothing is actually given to them afterwards and these girls then fall into the trap of prostitution in which they can’t get out of afterwards.[2] A study by UNICEF last year found that there is a high level of acceptance of prostitution and commercial sexual abuse not only by tourists, but by the people of Kenya including parents of the girls that are involved in these acts.[3] Girls at a young age are forced into the sexual industry in order to survive; they lose their rights as young children and as they grow older are denied their rights to develop at the natural pace.[3][4] They lack financial support from their husbands or extended family, they endure economic pressures and because of their instability they have no choice but to view prostitution as an option for themselves. They have now engaged themselves in prostitution not out of necessity but in hope that it will bring them a better life for their family and themselves. They let have let go of their values and morals in order to gain a profit to finically support themselves.[4]

Prostitution and Health in Kenya[edit]

Due to the increase amount of young girls going into the world of prostitution the spread of HIV/AIDS has vastly conquered much of Kenya in a short period of time. Many girls lack the information and knowledge about learning about the practice of safe sex and using protection when being involved in sexual activates. Since girls are extremely vulnerable, living in poverty with no food or money they lack the opportunities for education or even employment. Prostitutes in Kenya involve themselves in a risky lottery with HIV/AIDS infection when most of them see up to five partners a night and only use a condom 60% of the time.[5] Injuries like bruises, bones, and fractured bones, also happen to women because of the lack of protection they have against men.[6] HIV/AIDS, herpes, human papilloma virus are all high affecting viruses that women catch through prostitution because of the lack of protection they use amongst themselves.[6]

Sex tourism on the coast[edit]

The ministry for tourism in Kenya has been severely criticised because of its lack of response to the booming sex tourism and child exploitation on the Kenyan coast,[7][8]

At night, European male tourists visit Mombasa's clubs to meet young Kenyans. The girls often wear high heels and pay a bribe to get into the clubs. The typical client, a Mzungu, or a white man, will generally pay 5 times more for sex than a Kenyan labourer can earn in a day. [9] In 2006, a study by UNICEF reported that approximately 30% of the population of children aged between 12 and 18 were engaged in some form of sex work. [10]

This booming trade in sex tourism[11] goes on[12] with the Kenyan Tourism Police's full knowledge. They do not want to discourage the hundreds of thousands of white tourists from coming to Kenya’s coast, regardless of the damage it does to young Kenyans. [10] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

Social Movements[edit]

UNICEF is a non-profit organization that helps build communities together, allowing children who have been given so little a chance at life, turning the most innovative ideas into a set reality for some, and an organization filled with much hope, youth, prosperity and happiness.[18] It’s carried out by people who want to make a general a change in countries like Kenya, who know what needs to be done and how to reach their goals. They nurture and care for children, allow them to have an education, protect them from violence or harm, and treat diseases they may have attainted. Their main ideology is to give “children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future”.[18] UNICEF allowed the rest of the world to see the rising prostitution rates in Kenya for the first time at the 16th annual International Aids Conference, thus lifting the veil that covered this country for many years to show how much the HIV/AIDS epidemic has worsened and how prostitution has grown.[18] For many years now, UNICEF has been closely working with partners and the government in Kenya to address the many factors that have allowed prostitution to become so prominent in Kenya. They believe due to poverty, besides its booming tourism industry, residents in the country still are not able to finically support themselves which as mentioned before drives young girls and families into the path of prostitution.[18] UNICEF has help begin cash transfer programmes for families who are unable to support themselves, and to date has reached about sixty five thousand families. Not only are programs being started but legislation has been introduced to outlaw child prostitution, protecting young girls especially who are being lured into the industry and such young ages. Companies are than forced to sign Codes of Conduct which says that they are not allowed to allow tourists to engage in any physical sexual contact with young children, allowing for children’s right to become protected.


  1. ^ .es/contenidos/582/Kenia_Tourism_exploitation.pdf La explotación sexual de menores en Kenia alcanza una dimensión horrible – UNICEF España. (2007-01-17). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  2. ^ a b c . "Child prostitution | Children's Rights Portal." Children's Rights Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2013/>.
  3. ^ a b "Child Prostitution - Kenya." GVnet - The Web Professionals. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Prostitution: The Sad Kenyan Story.". N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2013>.
  5. ^ "Child Prostitution - Kenya." GVnet - The Web Professionals. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2013. <
  6. ^ a b "Health Effects of Prostitution, Making the Harm Visible, Global Sexual Exploitationof Women and Girls, Speaking Out and Providing Services." University of Rhode Island | Think Big. We Do.. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2013.
  7. ^ Kenya: Supkem Slams Balala Over Sex Trade. (2011-04-26). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  8. ^ Kenya: Supkem Slams Balala Over Sex Trade. (2011-04-26). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  9. ^ Africa | Tourists 'fuel Kenya's sex boom'. BBC News (2006-12-19). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  10. ^ a b Kenya – Sex tourism in Kenya: One girl’s story. UNICEF. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  11. ^ Child Prostitution. YouTube (2009-09-28). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  12. ^ Untold suffering of Kenya's children – Channel 4 News. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  13. ^ Sex tourism thrives unabated. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  14. ^ Autumn Sex Tourism Flourishing in … Kenya?. (1999-02-22). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  15. ^ Hughes, Dana. (2008-10-07) Sun, Safaris and Sex Tourism in Kenya – ABC News. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  16. ^ Fight against child sex tourism in Kenya needs a boost. (2011-05-01). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  17. ^ KENYA: Fight against child sex tourism needs a boost – AlertNet. (2011-04-28). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
  18. ^ a b c d "About UNICEF". UNICEF. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 

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