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A sanky-panky or sankyx is a male sex worker, found in the Caribbean, particularly the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and certain other parts of Latin America.[1] A sanky-panky solicits on beaches and has clients of both sexes or only women.[2] When with men, the sanky-panky assumes an active (a.k.a. top) role, but when with women, assumes the role of an ideal lover.

While strictly speaking they are not prostitutes, since they do not directly negotiate money for sex, they are more likely to create a pseudo-relationship which can be continued when the guest returns home.[3] They then attempt to ask for money to be sent to them primarily by wire transfer, often using elaborate stories of need, involving (for example) sick relatives.[1] A sanky's ultimate goal is to obtain a marriage visa to the tourist's native country, marry the tourist, then abandon her.[4]

Another word used for a sanky panky is chapeador (or chapi chapi) A lady is called a chapeadora. This word is derived from the verb "chapear" (to trim or cut; especially with a machete).[5]


In Peru they are known as bricheros (which are male and usually target female tourists) and bricheras (who are females instead and target male tourists). They hang out in popular tourist destinations and may involve themselves in business involving tourism in order to reach their customers.[6]


In certain tourist cities of Venezuela, and specially in the city of Mérida, females following a similar pattern of conduct are known as "Puta-Tour", a pejorative term that relates the person with travel based prostitution. Nevertheless, there are cases where the sexual intercourse is never reached, and long term friendships are the result. They usually target White American and European tourists, primarily in the interest of learning and/or practicing a foreign language (other than Spanish), serving also as a nice host and tourist guide, but expecting to get invited to travel to the tourist's native country. These relationships can range from friendship to marriage, and are based on the cultural interchanging and traveling, supported by the foreign tourist.

Sanky-pankies in popular culture[edit]

The persona of the "sanky panky" was brought to the cinema in 2007 by Spanish director Jose E. Pintor. In his comedic film entitled Sanky Panky, audiences follow the life of a young Dominican man named Genaro (played by Dominican comedian Fausto Mata) who travels to Bávaro to work at a resort in hopes of finding a "gringa" or a white American woman who will give him a visa. In the process, he meets a young heartbroken woman and her two older and oversexed aunts. The story that follows presents the beauties of Dominican resorts but portrays the realities of poverty in the Dominican Republic while simultaneously immortalizing the "sanky panky" via major motion picture.[7]

A film that explores this topic in a Francophone context is Heading South.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Sanky Pankies in the Dominican Republic". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Interesting Surprises - The Gay Scene In The Dominican Republic". Expat Focus. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Connecting People Through News". Montreal Gazette. 6 January 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Sanky Pankies". DRsisterhood. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  5. ^ "chapear". Real Acadamia Espanola. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  6. ^ Roguet, Juliette. "Bricherismo in Peruvian touristic areas: the configuration of gender in asymmetrical and intercultural encounters". Alternautas. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  7. ^ Chris Diego (2007-05-23). "'Sanky Panky' Has Its New York Premiere". Dominican Today. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  8. ^ Holden, Stephen (7 July 2006). "Heading South - Review - Movies". New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.

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