Child Prostitution in Mombasa

I’ve talked about the problems of running a gangster government below and related them to a raise in corruption, especially as it affects business.  However, when a country’s rule of law system breaks down, this environment of lawlessness will eventually permeate all the other sectors of the country.

We’ve all known that Mombasa has always been a place where tourists from the west came to have a good time.  A cheap, good time.  However, the spread of child prostitution is now attracting international attention because it’s getting out of control and a reporter for the New York Times has written an article on it.

A few quotes from the reporter that caught my attention:

….”When I inquired about the phenomenon, everyone told me that tightened restrictions in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia had pushed the trade to Mombasa, where dozens of weekly flights from Europe fuel its existence”.

He goes on to add the following:

“In countries with better (but by no means perfect) governance like Uganda, Tanzania and here in Rwanda, child sex tourism is virtually non-existent (but there are signs that the child sex trade is growing). Strong families are a key to avoiding the phenomenon of poor children set adrift to make their own way in the world. Here in Rwanda, families remain strong because there is hope, stability and a relative lack of corruption”….

You can read the full article here, but I want to add my own personal sentiments to this issue:

If there’s one feeling you get when you drive around Mombasa or even Malindi, it’s the sense of impunity that these European tourists are allowed to get away with.  I remember driving around the town and beaches and asking my friend in the car why these Germans and Italians were being allowed to just buy up all these properties, block them off and put up signs around them in German and Italian!

I mean, when I was in Ukunda, which is in the south coast, you could have fooled me for thinking I was in Berlin or Milan.  No African, no matter how much money they had, would be allowed to buy up properties in Germany, block off the public access roads to and from them and put up signs in Swahili.

These people have private airstrips on their land.  The government has no idea who is flying in, what they are flying in, who is on those planes….nothing.  It’s now became a haven for drug smugglers and these Europeans can basically do whatever the hell they want because they know, that if they get into trouble, all they have to do is bribe the right person and they’ll be let off scotch free.

The very scary thing here is that there is no known cure for pedophilia.  So, if someone doesn’t stop these European tourists from engaging in this kind of sick behavior, they are going to keep doing it.  This is not prostitution with adults.  This is a whole different category of sickness.

I must say, stories like these, increase the level of my xenophobia to a whole different category.

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13 comments for “Child Prostitution in Mombasa

  1. Phil
    December 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Quite wrong that pedophilia cannot be treated. At worst, pedophiles can be helped not to offend and to live more normal lives. The best treatment programs have had considerably good results whereas prison alone does not, but treatment programs are expensive in the short term. Pedophilia is a psychiatric condition that needs to be distinguished from child sex abuse per se. Most child sex offences are not committed by pedophiles but by “opportunistic” offenders who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia.

  2. Michelle
    May 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I think kenyans have to wake up and realise whats happening.many people just talk about hte problem, complain about …;but nobody is ready to go out there and do something about it..its time to fight back and do something this is even worse than when we were fighting for our “uhuru”our future generation is bieng destroyed…the foundation of hte country is breaking from hte bottom….everything thats above is just come crumbling down…i tell you there was a time i was proud to be kenyan…now it just pains my heart to see what our country is growing into…selling its sould to the devil…lets face a fact its not only the tourists to blame…some of these tourists have connections…and thats with kenya n people themselves….some of these pedophiles are also kenyans…so theres something wrong with this picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous
    January 12, 2010 at 6:47 am

    well it frustrating to know that the goverment can do better an have not shown an initiative at all…why would foreigners have a vast accessibility to a town like that, and have their own air strip and no one has looked into it…… well i for one i’m on it, i work for k24 any one with any leads email me on murbinyvonne@gmail.com

  4. coldtusker
    January 20, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I like onthe record’s solution… put them in prison… of course, they have to be identified…

    Over-population: Of course, in combination with other issues but the issue is NOT the pedophiles but the ‘availability’..

    BTW, high/large populations are not synonymous with over-population… 1,000,000 in vast NE Kenya might be over-populated compared to 1,000,000 in much smaller but fertile Central Kenya…

    Also, it seems that prostitution & child prostitution is accepted & abetted at Kenya’s coast. After all who except the locals are the pimps, prostitutes among others in the supply chain?

  5. Kei O
    January 20, 2009 at 7:00 am

    I understand they do give some treatment here in the UK. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

    I don’t know where you are but I know for sure paedophiles in the UK are offered some kind of medical intervention.

  6. ontherecord
    January 20, 2009 at 5:40 am

    “There is also the other dimension which KE alluded to; which is that paedophilia may be a medical condition. So no matter how rich the country is, the problem will still manifest itself.”

    If the above statement is correct why do they not treat the men and women in prison for this condition?

    As I understand it, this particular man was abused by his mother before he became 5. So it seems that it is something that happened to him beofre he did it to others. In that case it should be easy to forgive it and move on, however his children are not able to do that and are just keeping in tou=ch with the courts so that they are the first to know when he dies. On that day they say they will be free. However they now have kids and are leaving the kids exposed to the the wrong people. Social services just make the problem worse. Family vaules is aniother way of saying state control.

  7. Kei O
    January 20, 2009 at 4:52 am


    I think overpopulation on its own cannot explain it. It would have to be overpopulation and something else – such as economic sabotage and mismanagement.

    The reason I say this is because there are some countries with a very high population and they are able to provide for their people e.g. Japan & UK. On the other hand, there are some countries with very low population but the people are wallowing in poverty despite those contries’ riches e.g. Sierra Leone & Guinea Conakry.

    There is also the other dimension which KE alluded to; which is that paedophilia may be a medical condition. So no matter how rich the country is, the problem will still manifest itself.

    It is only being highlighted now in Kenya because there is a worldwide spotlight on it – especially in South East Asia where governments have started prosecuting westerners for it.

    However, in South Asian such as India and Bangladesh, it is still a huge huge problem which is largely acknowledged or even tacitly accepted.

    This is especially in India where there is such a huge population of poverty stricken people.

    The other aspect of the Kenyan problem is that bizarrely, majority of the people who patronise child prostitutes are locals i.e. Africans, Asians and Arabs. This is something the press has not highlighted. I do not understand why.

  8. Coldtusker
    January 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    KeiO: I think over-population in Kenya accounts in large part for the vicious cycle of poverty.

    Lucy Oriang mentions a woman with 10 kids!

    How the heck will they escape the cycle of poverty?

    Even barack obama’s senior had so many kids (4 wives…) that the rest (except BO who was raised by his mother & maternal grandma) were probably caught up in the cycle of poverty…

  9. Kei O
    January 19, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    As CT says, this is not a new phenomena – it is only that it is now being highlighted. Remember, even in the west it has only been highlighted in the past 20 years.

    It will not go away any time soon.

    Poverty is the main cause of the problem.

  10. Coldtusker
    January 18, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Pedophilia was present in past years, I don’t think people realised it OR chose to ignore it… OR as abhorrent as it sounds it was acceptable…

    Even in Kenya, today, we have these old geezers marrying (& those are just the tip of the iceberg) young girls…

    Morality has always been relative…

  11. kenyanentrepreneur
    January 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm


    I don’t think this piece is encouraging pedophillia at all — at least, that’s not the purpose of the piece (either here or by the author in the NYT). I think the central purpose is to highlight a terrible problem that is occurring at the coast and to highlight how having a corrupt government can ruin a societies moral obligations to it’s children.

    For me, this article just defines why the Kibaki government is failing on so many fronts and I believe it’s because of kibaki’s refusal (at the beginning of his term) to bring about genuine reforms in the country, which would have been based on the rule of law. Kibaki did have a chance to define what kind of country he wanted to leave behind (even if he didn’t like Raila & I don’t like him myself — he still could have ensured the countries laws were being adhered to by all people (including his ministers).

    The rule of law defines a societies moral obligations to it’s people because it is the only avenue, which can bring about a sense of fairness and justice for everyone.

    And you can be a dictator and STILL instill this respect for the rule of law within your country.

    btw — I’m very sorry to hear about your nieces and/or nephews. 10 years is not enough time for that kind of crime, especially because there is no cure for this sickness.

    Yes, there is pedophilia in the developed world, but if the law catches up with you, you will be arrested and imprisoned. This is the difference — the society will not tolerate it & neither will the government. They have social service agencies that work to remove children from abusive homes, provide free legal services to them, etc, etc….

    I don’t think it’s over population. I mean, when my parents were growing up, everyone around them had 10 or 11 children and cases of pedophilia were unheard of then because there was still a sense of community.

    I think Kenya has had a difficult time modernizing. From the time of independence, corruption sipped into our form of governance and it created an unequal society. A society where a few benefited from ill gotten wealth, but one that left masses of people on the fringes.

    Believing that jobs exist in the city (where the government agencies are housed) these masses leave their rural villages (where they had some semblance of community) and wind up in the vast slums that surround Nairobi. However, these slum dwellings come with views — views of mansions and mercedes benz’s above them. Initially, they are filled with hope & incorrectly believe that they too will one day end up in those mansions. However, after years of toiling, they begin to realize that the game is rigged. It’s not hard work that gets you to the mansions. It’s theft and corruption. Frustrated by their inability to make it, they drown their destroyed dreams in alcohol and drugs. Many also turn to crime — and when this breakdown spreads to enough young people within that society, a countries sense of identity is then destroyed.

    This is the failure of Africa’s political leadership — it has destroyed the moral fiber of it’s societies and in the process, it has drowned the dreams of it’s young people.

    This is why I don’t particularly admire kalonzo musyoka. He’s a man who claims to be a born again christian, but seems to exhibit no sense of passion about this break down of the country’s moral fiber.

  12. Coldtusker
    January 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    KE: Well… blame over-population… this idea of having 5 or 10 kids… how do the parents expect to raise them?


    You can put in all the governance you want but child prostitution or pedophilia happens in the developed world as well. It needs to be eliminated but parents need to provide for their kids.

    Whereas it is nigh impossible to eliminate pedophilia but we can minimise it.

    Only 10% (rapidly diminishing) of Kenya is suitable for intensive agriculture. How does one expect to feed the rapidly increasing population?

    Kenya has few large rivers… the Athi & Tana are also threatened… and kibz wants to sell out the Tana Delta…

  13. ontherecord
    January 18, 2009 at 9:50 am

    My ex brother in law is in prison for 10 year term for serious sexual assult of girls, his own too, and a lot of others, it has been the bane of this family and you are not helping by writing this sort of insane stuff, you are spreading the idea to others to get involved because they know they will not get caught. You tell them as much. As you well know the vast majority of people do not behave in this way. Human Rights court will only prove that Jesus was a one off and never to be repeated, even if he did orcastrate the whole nightmare himself by getting Jusad to spill the money on the floor of the temple.

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