Foreign Tourists Boost Child Prostitution in Kenya.

The pornography business has found permanent roots in Mombasa , the Coastal city of Kenya proving to be a haven for the masterminds. Investigations have revealed that Kenyan Girls as young as 13 years have found themselves in this illicit but most lucrative trade. Foreign tourists coming as far as Germanya and Italy are believed to enjoy their holidays in Kenya with this young girls irrespective of a major global campaign being waged by Child Rights Activists against Child Prostitution.

The warm breeze blew smoothly fluttering the multicoloured ribbons beautifying the pub at the South Coast. Dozens of patrons, most of them foreign tourists, animatedly chatted as they enjoyed their drinks. Several others were swimming along the beach. As we enjoyed the evening breeze chatting with a friend, a young teenage girl, with her eyes sweeping across the pub, sat on the next table. Moments later, she was joined by a younger colleague who appeared a bit timid. The two conversed softly as they cast surreptitious glances at some patrons in the bar. Without warning, the elder girl walked towards a patron then suddenly changed direction and went towards the washrooms. Her colleague smiled shyly as she took a sip of her soft drink. She had mistaken a patron for one of the foreign clients she was expecting. "The teenage girls are prostitutes specialising in pornographic acting," my friend, who works in the area, whispered to me. She told me the two, who appeared to be 16 and 17 year olds, were targeting tourists. Curious about the pornographic trade, I befriended one of the girls and started a friendly conversation that slowly drifted into divulging details of the pornography business. After hesitating for a while, the girl shyly admitted she is in the trade. She confessed she was introduced into pornography acting when she was 14 years old. "I don’t like it but it pays my bills. I don’t mind having my nude pictures or having sex in front of the cameras because I am looking for money," says the girl who introduces herself as Ruth. "My parents separated when I was young and I was dumped at my aunt’s place where my uncle sexually abused me. I escaped and came to the South Coast where I made friends who introduced me to this business," she says with her eyes fixed on the ground. "At first I was being paid as little as Sh5,000 per session but when I perfected the art, I became a star and I am now capable of negotiating up to Sh30,000 per session," she proudly says. Sexual exploitation She reveals she sometimes goes with up to four men simultaneously in one session without the use of any protection as cameras record. "I think porn business is better than hustling as a prostitute. In porn, you have readily available contacts and the pay is good. They do not use condoms but the agreement is that they withdraw before ejaculation," she says with a shy smile. The came the moment of passion : A tourist and her Kenyan girlfriend enjoy passionate moments as they swim along the Kenyan coastal beach. Her friend Jane is new in the business and appears nervous as Ruth talks to me. Jane says she joined the trade because she needed the money and that she has come to appreciate the amounts involved in porn. "I know I will slowly learn with experts like Ruth. There is no turning back," she says adamantly. "I come from a very poor family and this economy is not getting any better. How do I support my people back in the village? I need to work?" Jane poses. Ruth confesses there are a lot of young girls she knows in Diani area who engage in porn business. "Ni kubaya, hakuna do, sasa mi nitado? Sitaki maisha ya street na sitaki kutegea wazungu kwa bar, (Things are bad, there is no money so what do I do?, I do not want street life or targeting whites in bars)." They confess that they do it in private villas and cottages where they face no risk of arrest. The pornography business has found permanent roots in Kenya with the South Coast proving to be a haven for the masterminds. Interestingly, our investigations revealed that girls as young as 13 years have joined the clandestine business. These young girls are now the victims of the multi-million cartels steered by foreigners where the masterminds make millions back home through the sale of videos and pictures of young Kenyan girls performing sex. They record videos and pictures of girls performing sex with both locals and foreigners and then sell them in large numbers abroad in the form of DVDs and VCDs. They are also available locally. To defeat the law, the videos are shot in private villas and cottages away from the public eye. In January, police in Diani got information that porn business was going on in a villa and after a successful raid, they confiscated cameras and arrested the foreigner who was caught in the act with a local girl. He was charged for being found in possession of pornographic materials for the purpose of display or sale. In his defence, the German national said he was doing it for pleasure. He admitted that they take willing girls to private villas where they ‘have fun’ together. He was deported back to Germany. In April, another German national was charged in Diani for knowingly infecting a Kenyan woman with HIV/Aids. The man in his 50s, sent the woman a message after several sexual encounters with her, telling her bluntly that he was HIV positive. She was tested and found positive. The South Coast and parts of Malindi and Kilifi districts also have records of tourists taken to court for taking nude pictures of children along the beaches or being involved sexually with under age girls. Although over 90 per cent of the final porn material is shipped out of the country, the local middlemen remain with copies of the same, which we can confirm are available and are even advertised in local dailies. One of the adverts in the newspapers read: \"Adult DVDs by Kenyan tribes like Luos, Kambas, Kikuyus and Swahilis at almost ten US Dollars." When I called the number given in the advert and expressed interest in participating in porn, the organiser, who said he sells the DVDs in Nairobi was excited. When I asked how much I would take home per session, the man told me: "It is negotiable but I can assure you a start of almost 400 dollars per session. I can tell you that you can earn more because in Mombasa, some tourists come just eager to see or perform with Kenyan girls." "In fact, we want to establish a stronger network so that we don’t lose the Coastal business. I lose up to Sh50,000 a week due to lack of a proper agent to sell copies of the same," he confessed. Police admission The Provincial CID boss Bernard Mate admits the child pornography trade is prevalent at the Coast. "Members of the public and the girls’ parents are guilty of a conspiracy," he charges. He says the foreigners involved come in as tourists but later approach some poor parents who willingly release their daughters after they are given a lot of money. "The police are trying hard to stop it but the trade has gone hi-tech. Those involved advertise on websites and use a chain of middlemen to recruit girls," he reveals adding it involves a lot of money. Another senior police officer who didn’t want to be identified intimated that although they know that the porn business goes on, it is very difficult to get the information when it is happening. "These things go on in theprivate villas and cottages, most of which are not registered or known to the government. It is difficult to know what goes on in there because it is private property. We can only act if we get information from those working there," he explained. "It is a booming business but our hands are tied because we do not get information. In most cases, the underage girls are willing participants," he added. The police blame the success of the vice on the failure by the tourism industry and the Immigration Department to control and scrutinise tourists entering and leaving the country. "They come and stay in private villas. The police cannot control their flow and there is no data on which tourist lives where, whereas, their laws back at home are stringent and applies to all visitors," laments the officer.