The Kenyan Coast is sitting on a time bomb, with tourists visiting the destination ostensibly to have sex with children.
But child prostitution is not only prevalent but also socially accepted in towns and villages along the Coast. Authorities and charities are struggling to alt the illicit trade.
Poverty along the Kenyan Coast is now forcing residents to rent out their spouses to rich tourists for some income, it has emerged.
To beat the rising levels of poverty, some Kenyans have been handing over their wives or husbands to the tourists who want a good time before reuniting with them after the job.
Among the persons already in the job is James Kimani, a tour guide, who says that he has been renting his wife out for such since August 2018, in pursuit for that extra coin.
He says that it began when a tourist asked for his help to get a Kenyan woman with whom he was to spend his time with in Kenya, and due to the poverty, he handed over his wife.
However, he says, he had to pass her out as his sister to make her acceptable to the man.
“Yes, I have a nice, bubbly woman. She is dark-skinned, well endowed and naughty. She is my younger sister, very single and well behaved. I can bring her tomorrow,” he reportedly told the white man.
He says that they are still married and love each other, though the woman has been away from home for the last two months after he hooked her up with another tourist, adding that she brings home as much as Sh40,000 a month.
“We still love each other, we are still married and she supports this family. She is the breadwinner,” he added.
Kilifi County Police boss Patrick Okeri confirmed having knowledge of the same, adding that it has grown to an extent that some women even have two husbands, a European and their original Kenyan husbands.
“Recently there was a case of a woman with two husbands, a foreigner and a Kenyan. She shares her house with the foreign husband when he comes to Kenya and when he leaves the country her Kenyan husband comes back home,” he said.
Paul Adhuoch who heads Trace Kenya, a child rights organization, says that the same also affects children who are also targeted by the tourists for sex tourism.
He says that over 13,000 minors engage in sexual activities along the coastal counties annually, the majority of them being girls.
This, he says, has resulted in an increase in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Muslims for Human Rights rapid response officer Francis Auma said rich foreigners own apartments at the Coast, managed by residents.
“In those apartments owned by Europeans a lot happens that goes unnoticed. This is where children are molested but the government does not make efforts to monitor these homes,” Auma said.
Auma said in some cases minors are molested and sold.
“At Mtwapa children are sold off to tourists in the evening. The cases are swept under the carpet for the foreigners are rich and can corrupt the system,” Auma said.
He said Auma said the Tourist police have done little to fight the vice. They give tourists a pass despite having evidence against them.
Mtwapa police boss Joseph Muriuki said though the cases are many, few are reported. He said people, especially victims, fear coming out for fear of being victimised by their families, who sometimes depend on them.
“We cannot tell if someone is undergoing such torturous acts unless they come out and speak, then the security will act on the information,“ he said.