Ten years ago, in 2006, UNICEF published some shocking statistics that claimed that due to the drastic poverty situation, about a third of the children in Kenya are involved in some form of prostitution and one out of every ten is involved in sex trade. The information went on to point out that most of them begin at the age of 8 or 9.
In 2016 a group of journalists headed to Kenya to see if the organizations in charge of children’s rights had made any advances in solving this crisis situation. After all, in Nairobi there are hundreds of NGOs that should be helping underage prostitutes to escape from that way of life. However, what they discovered is that many of the NGOs in the city aren’t that interested in finding solutions because as soon as the problem is solved, they would no longer attract donors and their funding would dry up. It’s much more convenient for them to go down to the poverty stricken slums, take pictures, attach them to their newsletters, stir up pity among their subscribers and then wait for the money to come pouring in.
The NGOs that operate in the small towns and villages in the outskirts where poverty is the highest, do use the donations they receive for the intended purposes, though. They educate the young women regarding the use of condoms and provide them free of charge as a means to avoid pregnancy. In Kenya there are four times more births than deaths and many women give birth to ten or more children.
According to the latest ratings, Kenya is one of the top sex tourism destinations in the world. Even though prostitution is illegal, the supply exceeds the demand in this country. Many young girls start offering sex for money out of desperation. Many of them have to maintain younger siblings or aging grandparents and are too young to get a legal job. Some trade sex for as little as a plate of food and then they end up dropping out of school because they are unable to come up with funds to buy books and uniforms. This plunges them further into despair and self-hatred.
There are a group of elite sex workers that offer their services at resorts and fancy hotels where mostly Europeans tourists over the age of fifty 50 are guests. These girls, also in their early teens, get paid an average of $100 per night, but it depends on whether it’s high season or low season.
Yes, sex with minors is a common occurrence in Kenya.