News / Africa

NGO: Kenyan Coast a Haven for Child-Porn Producers

Seventeen year-old sex worker checks email on his mobile phone, Mombasa, Kenya, July 21, 2012 (VOA/Jill Craig).
Seventeen year-old sex worker checks email on his mobile phone, Mombasa, Kenya, July 21, 2012 (VOA/Jill Craig).
Jill Craig
MOMBASA – Kenya's coastal region is one of the nation's poorest, a place where vacationers have long exploited rampant poverty and lax law enforcement, allowing its sex-tourism industry to flourish.
 
As early as 2006, UNICEF reported between 2,000 and 3,000 Kenyan girls and boys are involved in a full-time, year-round commercial sex trade.
 
In recent years, however, NGO workers have noticed that more children are becoming involved in pornography, unwittingly or otherwise. 
 
“We’ve been hearing that there are people who come [specifically] to do pornography - and the younger the child, the better the movie," says Grace, a Mombasa-based rights advocate for women and children who has asked that her last name be withheld. "So most of them go for young children."
 
An advocate for more than eight years, Grace says many of the children with whom she works are reporting an increase in clients taking photographs of them nude or having sex.
 
"They pay, and by going for the young children, we have many cases coming up that many are going into the trade," she says.
 
At 22 years of age, Jasmine is employed as a sex worker on the north coast of Mombasa. When she was underage, she says, she once agreed to have sex with a German man she had met at a bar.
 
“So then I stayed with him for four days, then I noticed," she says, explaining that the man had been recording their entire interaction with a camera the size of a button.
 
"I know how to use [a] computer. I asked to check my emails ... I saw everything we were doing, he had recorded it," she says. "Then I was asking him, [and] he told me ‘it’s gonna sell for a lot of money.’ When he gets money, he’s going to send for me. I told him, ‘why didn’t you tell me? You could have told me, we could have agreed, because I need money too.”
 
Availability of technology, ease of digital distribution
 
Maureen Karisa, Solidarity with Women in Distress (SOLWADI) CEO, says her field officers are seeing new cases of child pornography on a daily basis.
 
“There are some who even take that pornography with just a pen," she says. "I think it’s the technology that has come in. That they’re able to [record] ... you when you’re not even aware of what is happening, and then they go and sell it.” 
 
But some children know exactly what is happening.
 
John started sex work when he was nine. He did his first pornographic film when he was 11 and his second when he was 13. Now 17 years old and a junior in high school, he says a European man - a self-professed “filmmaker” - had boys and girls sign a consent form to be recorded having group sex, even though Kenyan law defines anyone under the age of 18 as a child.
 
The production, he says, took place at a rented Mombasa brothel, where it could be staged without attracting attention. After being presented with alcohol and encouraged to drink, the children, he says, had unprotected group sex with older men before a production team.
 
“The worst thing is, we did it unprotected," says John, explaining that young children are too naïve to understand the importance of protecting themselves and that older men see them as disposable. "You can see how dangerous that can be, without doing any kind of protection.”
 
Laws unenforced
 
According to Ruweidah Hussein, program officer with Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), the absence of legal protection only serves to give more confidence to offenders.
 
“I think it’s happening more and more because people are not punished about it," she says, describing inadequate law enforcement as perhaps the primary reason few cases aren't brought forth.
 
"Issues of pornography is a very big offense in our country," she says. "They’ve made very beautiful laws that say child pornography is a very big crime, but no one is there to monitor such activities.”
 
Grace, too, agrees that even though prostitution is illegal in Kenya, it will continue with impunity if laws continue to go unenforced and the local child-porn production industry continues to be ignored.
 
“[Tourists] don’t come to see animals, trees, zebras in [the] Masai Mara, but they come specifically to exploit our young, coming generation," she says of the coastal region. "It is high time [that] I think all of us should sit and think on the issues of our children. If you don’t come up with what to do, and how to go about this issue, it is really becoming a time bomb.” 

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lloyd from: Queensland
August 16, 2012 8:29 PM
Grace, I wish you the best of luck.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 16, 2012 3:36 PM
A time bomb you call it. Why not? The best you can ever produce - who is president of the most powerful country in the world is the number one supporter of immorality and ungodliness. If Kenya can remotely support that evil by the first ever black and African president of the world, you must be right to expect a timed explosion of even more and worse evil not only in the coastal Kenya, but an antichrist is definitely born, and is of Kenyan origin. The end of the world comes when people will no longer regenerate or procreate, and when children are destroyed in their infancy. If this spreads everywhere, the name of the game - the end result, is DOOM.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid