As we fight to end HIV/AIDS by 203o, Here is one of the reaseons as to why we may fail on common goal.
15. Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso’s population is known for its high level of sexual activity, which, while having positive aspects, also comes with its drawbacks. The lack of sexual education and awareness contributes to a higher prevalence of HIV cases as more people remain uninformed. As of 2009, there has been a reported increase in the number of prostitutes in Burkina Faso, partly attributed to the country’s poverty. In 2015, the estimated number of individuals living with HIV in Burkina Faso was 95,000, a significant concern for a country with a total population of 18 million. Considering these statistics, it is not surprising that Burkina Faso ranks among the most sexually active countries in Africa.
Gambia has gained notoriety for its female sex tourism. Starting from the 1990s, Gambia has emerged as a favored choice among European women seeking romantic encounters with African men often referred to as African ‘toy’ boys. The media has covered sex tourism in Gambia frequently in recent times, highlighting stories of middle-aged Western women seeking long-term relationships, holiday romances, and one-night stands. However, there is often more to it than relationships. Stories of Gambian love cheats, visa scams and polygamy are all too common.
A study conducted on child sex tourism in Zambia confirms its existence. It was established that children below the age of 18 engage in sexual interactions with both local residents and foreign tourists from various parts of the world. These tourists visit Zambia for diverse reasons, including exploring tourist attractions. Regrettably, some of them also engage in sexual activities with children.
Gabon serves as a destination and transit country for trafficked women and children. There are 90,000 Gabonese adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, who are either in a marital or cohabiting relationship, or unmarried but have engaged in sexual activity within the last three months.
Promoting the people of Uganda as a tourist attraction is a positive concept. Ugandans are known for their exceptional hospitality and inspiring nature. Despite facing challenging poverty levels, they radiate happiness, and warmly welcome visitors. This unique trait has sometimes perplexed foreign tourists, ultimately leading to a strong bond as they earnestly seek to learn about Ugandan culture.
Sex tourism becomes evident through the presence of beautiful young Ugandan females accompanying aging white men at popular bars in town, or in Ugandan men seeking visas and opportunities abroad, often supported by relationships with mzungu women.
Ethiopia serves as a destination and transit country for women and children who are victims of sex trafficking. In Ethiopia, prostitution is legal and prevalent, but procuring, which includes operating brothels and profiting from prostitution, is technically illegal.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, prostitution itself is legal, but associated activities are prohibited. The Congolese penal code specifically penalizes pimping, operating bawdy houses or brothels, exploiting prostitution, and engaging in forced prostitution. Additionally, actions that encourage or facilitate the involvement of minors in prostitution or promote the prostitution of others have also been criminalized.
Sex tourism is a prominent and widespread phenomenon, with various countries experiencing distinct approaches to prostitution regulations. In Kenya, prostitution is largely legal, except in Nairobi where it remains illegal, yet it continues to be extensively popular and widely practiced across the nation. The allure of Kenya’s exotic locations and diverse cultural experiences often attracts tourists seeking these encounters.
In Cameroon, prostitution is considered illegal according to their law, but it is often tolerated, particularly in urban centers and tourist hotspots. The country has become a destination for sex tourism, drawing visitors from Western countries, particularly for exploitative activities like child prostitution.
Sex tourism has become a well-known stereotype in Egypt. Despite prostitution being illegal in the country, the statistics paint a grim picture. In the bustling city of greater Cairo alone, it was found that a staggering number of child victims of sexual exploitation by tourists ranged from 200,000 to 1 million. Alongside this reality, there are also approximately 1 million sex workers in Egypt, making up nearly 1.6% of the entire Egyptian population.
In Tanzania, prostitution is illegal, yet it remains prevalent. UNAIDS has estimated the number of prostitutes in the country to be around 155,450. The grim reality is that many men and women, young girls and boys are compelled to enter prostitution due to various factors such as poverty, limited job opportunities, cultural pressures, and the breakdown of family structures. Even university students find themselves turning to prostitution out of economic necessity.
Senegal’s increasing female sex tourism finds its origins in the challenges of poverty and limited employment opportunities for the country’s young men. Senegal plays a role as a source, and destination country for women and children who become victims of sex trafficking. Additionally, Senegalese boys and girls also fall prey to sex trafficking.
In Morocco, official government statistics only account for 50 women involved in prostitution. However, there is a concern that the country is downplaying these figures, especially considering that a significant number of minors exploited in sex tourism are predominantly boys. An increasing number of people are speaking out against sex tourism in Morocco. Numerous documentaries and studies are shedding light on the issue, denouncing the exploitation of young men and women involved in prostitution.
2. South Africa
While there has been a study indicating that the poverty rate in South Africa has started to decrease, the overall number of people living in poverty remains significantly high. As a consequence, certain young South Africans find themselves compelled to turn to prostitution as a means of survival. Largely unemployed, engaging in sex tourism becomes their only option to escape poverty’s grip. Furthermore, distressingly, some parents actively encourage their children to linger in “white” areas with the hope that they will engage in paid sexual activities. The parents, driven by desperation to provide for their families, overlook the physical, mental, and emotional consequences, prioritizing financial gains over their children’s well-being. The precarious financial situation pushes them to take such extreme measures, sacrificing their children’s welfare in the process.
In Nigeria, sex tourism is not limited to leisure travelers, as it is also prevalent within the business world. A report issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlights a distressing surge in sex tourism in rural Nigeria. The report particularly emphasizes that the exploitation of minors in this context is even more severe in comparison to any other African country. A staggering 62% of human trafficking victims are subjected to forced prostitution or sexual slavery in the country.
Credit: Insider Monkey.