Sun, Safaris and Sex Tourism in Kenya

It's Saturday night at one of Nairobi's trendiest expat clubs. The drinks are flowing, the house music is blaring and couples are either grinding on the dance floor or chatting at the bar. Some are hugged up together on the couchlike seating outside.

But these aren't your typical young party-goers having fun -- a vast majority of the couples on this Saturday night, actually every Saturday night, are made up of old white men, mostly tourists and businessmen, and hot, young Kenyan women.

The scene looks like something out of a comedy movie. Some of the men are bald, others have Donald Trump haircuts, dancing like grandfathers struggling to find the beat. Lots of Bill Gates glasses and brown and black sport coats with T-shirts underneath.

And the girls? Tall, slender, dark with skimpy clothing and come-hither smiles.

One man looks to be about 60, with a bald head, potbelly and his black T-shirt tucked into high-waisted pants. He approaches a Kenyan girl who looks about 25. She's tall, in a tiny form-fitting black dress and heels that make her legs look like they go for miles.

"Can I buy you a drink?" he asks with a heavy German accent. She says demurely, "Yes. Where are you from?"

Before long they are chatting at the bar and his hand slides from her back to her backside, her arm around his waist. He taps her behind to the beat of Britney Spears' "Give Me More," whispers in her ear and just a few minutes later they exit the club, together.

A Kenyan woman standing next to them shakes her head and says to her friend, "Langa," a slang term for "whore" in Swahili, Kenya's national language.

The young woman in the dress may not have been a prostitute, but chances are she was. One of the "perks" of coming to Kenya as a tourist from the West is the easy availability of prostitutes.

A Reputation for 'Easy Sex'

Prostitution is technically illegal in Kenya, but authorities and club and resort owners look the other way. It's often considered a part of the tourist experience -- and the hundreds of millions of dollars Kenya brings in because of tourism.

But it isn't just the country's wildlife and beaches that draw millions of people every year.

"Kenya has a reputation for easy sex," said Caroline Naruk, 29, an account manager at a Kenyan ad agency.

Prostitutes are not always your typical "streetwalkers." Many can be found at what are considered upscale establishments.

"Some of these woman are working, middle-class women," said Naruk. "They say 'In the evening I'll get dressed up, hook up with a tourist, have sex, get the money and press on with life.'"

Kenyan Prostitution Perverse to Locals

The problem, say most Kenyans, is that these "arrangements" start to perverse the entire society. Naruk is a tall, slim, stunning young woman -- and says she is constantly harassed by Western tourists and businessmen.

"I feel so insulted," she said. "It's gotten to the point that when I go out, I stress over how I can dress so that I will look different."

She has just stopped going to certain establishments. But she's been harassed at her job as well. One Westerner in town for business, who she says was nearly 50 years old, got her number from her supervisor and began continuously calling, trying to lure her to his room.

"It really became an issue," she said. "Most tourists and businessmen that come here have a lot of money, and when they come here they think 'I can be whatever I want to be,' and that's how they behave."

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