Kenya’s beautiful coastline has long been known as a magnet for pedophiles. At last estimate close to 15,000 girls between the ages of 12-18 in at least four districts in the region were involved in some form of sex trade with some of them participating in the most horrific sex acts with moneyed tourists who visit the beach towns to take advantage of the local poverty.
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While the government has been trying to deal with this problem, another peculiar trend seems to be emerging — that of single white women in their fifties and sixties who descend on coastal towns to pick up young men for brief no-strings-attached flings.
So widespread is this autumn sex tourism that the country’s tourism department admits it could be as many as one in every five single woman who arrives in Kenya interested in more than gazing out at a beautiful sunset on a golden beach. In this poor West African region, there’s no shortage of tall, muscular young men who are more than happy to oblige a woman’s wildest fantasies for nothing more expensive than a nice dinner, a trendy shirt or a pair of elegant loafers. The men involved admit they enjoy the luxury of living life as the other side lives it — luxurious hotels, fine dining and clubbing like the white people do.
Although nothing about this phenomenon is illegal, it’s beginning to make tourism officials and hoteliers uncomfortable. Many hotels now refuse to allow guests to change a room from a single to a double one, and are taking some other measures to make it difficult for female guests to casually pick up and bring young men to their rooms at night. Experts say the kind of power that comes with essentially enslaving a strapping black man to do your bidding, like a scene out of a forgotten colonial past, is the lure that tourism companies have been using to bait older white women, who come from societies where nubile young twenty-something girls get the pick of the crop as far as virile men are concerned.