Prostitution in Tanzania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prostitution in Tanzania is illegal but widespread.[1][2][3] UNAIDS estimate there to be 155,450 prostitutes in the country.[4] Many women and young girls are forced into prostitution due to poverty, lack of job opportunities, culture, and the disintegration of the family unit.[5][6][7] Many university students have to turn to prostitution for economic reasons.[8]

Sex trafficking[9] and child prostitution[7] are a major problems in Tanzania.

The country is a destination for sex tourism, including female and child sex tourism, especially in the coastal resorts and Zanzibar.[10][11][12]

Sex tourism[edit]

Tanzania is a popular destination for sex tourism, particularly in Arusha[13] Bagamoyo and the islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba. Many of the tourists are Italian.[10]

Zanzibar is also a destination for female sex tourism.[14][11] Many of the "beach boys" are not from Zanzibar. There are some agents offering holidays to the island, including an exclusive "guide". Most of the women are from Europe or North America.[11]

Child sex tourism is a problem,[12] especially on the coastal resorts and the Kenyan border.[9] Whilst some of the children are trafficked,[9] some turn to prostitution through poverty.[10]


Tanzania faces a mature, generalized HIV epidemic. In 2011, an estimated 1.6 million Tanzanians were living with HIV/AIDS.[15][16] An estimated 1 out of 20 residents in the capital Dar es Salaam and 1 in 3 sex workers are infected with the HIV virus.[17] Nationally, 28% of sex workers[18] and 4.7% of all adults are infected.[19]

Reports show that an increase in the number of cases of HIV and AIDS are growing at an alarming rate in Zanzibar. This is thought to have been added to by large numbers of tourists entering Zanzibar and fueling demand for prostitutes.[20]

Sex trafficking[edit]

Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking. Internal trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and characteristically facilitated by victims’ family members, friends, or intermediaries offering assistance with education or securing employment in urban areas.[21] Impoverished children from the rural interior remain most vulnerable to trafficking. Girls are exploited in sex trafficking, particularly in tourist hubs and along the border with Kenya. Previous media reports indicate girls are subjected to sex trafficking in China. Tanzanian nationals are sometimes subjected sex trafficking in other African countries, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the United States. Trafficking victims from other countries, particularly children from Burundi, Rwanda, and Kenya, as well as adults from India, Nepal, and Yemen are subjected to sex trafficking. Citizens of neighbouring countries may transit Tanzania before being subjected to sex trafficking in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.[9]

The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks Tanzania as a "Tier 2" country.[9]


  1. ^ "DailyNews Online Edition - 'Prostitutes' adopt new trick to milk customers". 23 March 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  2. ^ "DailyNews Online Edition - Prostitution shames the nation, it must be banned". 16 May 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  3. ^ "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". ChartsBin. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Sex workers: Population size estimate - Number, 2016". UNAIDS. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Chapter 4: Safari - The Journey". Between their stories and our realities (Report). The People's Decade of Human Rights Education. January 1999.
  6. ^ "TANZANIA: Prostitutes work the graveyard shift in Dar es Salaam". IRIN. 28 July 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b Mwita, Sosthenes (5 October 2015). "Tanzania: When Needy Girls Opt for Redlight". Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam). Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Thomson Reuters Foundation | News, Information and Connections for Action". 28 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Tanzania 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ a b c Tairo, Apolinari (9 January 2009). "Italians and their "sexcapades" in East Africa". eTurboNews (eTN). Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Crous, Marisa (15 July 2016). "Sex tourism in Africa: European women who pay for sex with locals". W24. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b Francoeur, Robert T.; Reiss, Ira L.; Noonan, Raymond J.; Opiyo-Omolo, Beldina; Perper, Timothy (2006). The Continuum complete international encyclopedia of sexuality (Updated, with more countries. ed.). New York, NY: Continuum. ISBN 978-0826414885.
  13. ^ Finke, Jens; Stedman, Henry (2010). The Rough guide to Tanzania (3rd ed.). London: Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1848360754.
  14. ^ McQue, Katie (11 August 2017). "How mass tourism is helping to spread HIV in Zanzibar". New Internationalist. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  15. ^ 'UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2012 (PDF) (Report). UNAIDS. 2012. p. 7.
  16. ^ Marsland, Rebecca (December 2012). "(Bio)Sociality and HIV in Tanzania: Finding a Living to Support a Life". Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 26 (4): 470–485. doi:10.1111/maq.12002. ISSN 0745-5194. PMID 23361880.
  17. ^ "The HIV rebound nobody is discussing | Updates | PBS NewsHour". PBS. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  18. ^ "HIV prevalence amongst sex workers". UNAIDS. 2016. Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  19. ^ "United Republic of Tanzania 2017 Country factsheet". UNAIDS. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Tourists Influx Sparks HIV/AIDS In Zanzibar". Dar es Salaam. TOMRIC News Agency. 5 April 2000 – via Hartford Web Publishing.
  21. ^ Weiss, Adam (1 February 2016), "The Application of International Legislation: Is the Federalisation of Anti-trafficking Legislation in Europe Working for Trafficking Victims?", Human Trafficking, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 41–62, doi:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401128.003.0003, ISBN 978-1-4744-0112-8