Sex tourism can be referred to the act of traveling to foreign countries, with the aim of engaging or involving in sexual activity or relationships in exchange for money.
This practice most times operates in countries where sex work is legal, and likewise known to occur illegally in poorer and less developed societies.
In Africa, several countries have become harbor for sex tourism ranging mature women to young businessmen.
Most times, when dealing with sex tourism men are singled out, but the number of Western women visiting African countries in search of “young, strong and virile” men as well is increasing.
This practice is not limited to adults either, however it has been recorded in recent years, that sex tourism has become increasingly oriented towards younger children even as little as an Eight-year-old child.
The children involved in sex tourism go into it because they have been left to fend for themselves or have been talked into or encouraged to engage in prostitution by guardians, parents or by prostitution ring gang members, however the main factors driving individuals into this trade are hardship and poverty which are the reasons why certain young Africans enter into the world of prostitution. Similarly, some parents encourage their children to loiter or hang around in the hopes that they will engage in remunerated sexual relations, without considering the physical, mental and emotional consequences, as long as their children bring back enough money to feed the family.
Prostitution is majorly illegal in many African countries but some countries have popularized prostitution leading to the growth of sex tourism.
MAJOR SEX TOURISM COUNTRIES IN AFRICA
In Africa, several countries have become key sex tourism destinations, some of which are as follow:
KENYA: Prostitution is widespread and mostly legal in Kenya but illegal in Nairobi but irrespective sex tourism is widely popular and well-practiced. Many foreign men and women, thousand of boys and girls are involved in full-time sex tourism, which is thriving at resorts along Kenya’s coast due to poverty in the region.
SOUTH AFRICA: In South Africa, prostitution is illegal but sex tourism has been on a rising level. For instance, Cape town which is the oldest and second largest city in South Africa after Johannesburg is a well-known tourism destination which is usually preferred by tourists who prefer homosexual encounters.
BANJUL: this is the capital and fourth largest city of Gambia where sexual tourism has developed rapidly and over 50% of Gambia’s population are under the age of 18 and these youths live in very difficult conditions thereby encouraging the act to move or practice prostitution for a means of survival.
CAMEROON: Prostitution practice in Cameroon is said to be illegal but tolerated especially in urban and tourist areas. Kribi precisely which is a seaside resort town and port in the South Province of Cameroon is known for welcoming sex tourists. In Kribi, sexual favors cost a very small amount, barely more than nothing at all. Taking for instance, for sexual intercourse with a minor (an underage), a Westerner will be expected to pay the insignificant sum of 15 Euros.
TANZANIA: In Tanzania, sex tourism is illegal but widespread. Many women and young girls are forced into prostitution due to poverty, lack of job opportunities, culture, and the disintegration of the family unit
SENEGAL: Prostitution is legalized and regulated in Senegal. Sex tourists must be at least 21 years of age, carry a valid sanitary card, and test negative for sexually transmitted infections, Senegal has been the only country in Africa to legalise sex tourism but regulate it. The only condition is that it is done discreetly. “Saly” precisely is a place of clandestine prostitution. This seaside resort welcomes a very large number of sex tourists and it is commonly found to see young local men accompanied by mature Western women
Sex tourism also takes place in Tunisia, Madagascar, Kampala as well as many other destinations.
Regardless of agreements being signed such as charters against sex tourism, prohibiting the entry of minors (under-age) into the rooms of tourists, the hotels of several sex tourism capitals are constantly increasing in the number of minors that are being received.
Corruption has permitted sex tourists who breach agreements to be released as soon as possible by police men, whereby police officers are willing to overlook the offenses of these tourists in exchange for a few bank notes.