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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                      

Republic of Kenya

The regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low.

In 2006 the World Bank and IMF delayed loans pending action by the government on corruption. The international financial institutions and donors have since resumed lending, despite little action on the government's part to deal with corruption. Post-election violence in early 2008, coupled with the effects of the global financial crisis on remittance and exports, reduced GDP growth to 2.2% in 2008, down from 7% the previous year.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Kenya

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Kenya.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Central Police Station
Country code: 254-



Kenya: Country should stamp out sex tourism (commentary)

Rasna Warah, Daily Nation, 29 October 2007

[accessed 7 June 2011]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

Many of the children being exploited are not from the coast region but are imported from rural areas from around the country.  You don’t have to spend a lot of time at the Kenyan coast to know that child prostitution and sex tourism are rampant there. In Mombasa and Malindi, it is common to see aging white men well into their 70s and 80s with girls young enough to be their granddaughters.  Locals tolerate this type of sexual exploitation because, as one put it to me recently, “nothing gets a family out of poverty faster than a daughter who has a white boyfriend.”  In many cases, girls are encouraged by none other than their parents and relatives to look for older white men who will not only pay the girl for her services, but her family as well.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2007

[accessed 1 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Kenya. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 1 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law criminalizes sexual exploitation of children, including prohibiting procurement of a child younger than age 18 for unlawful sexual relations. The law also prohibits domestic and international trafficking, or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, transfer, or receipt of children up to the age of 18 for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances. Provisions apply equally to girls and boys. The law has provisions regarding child trafficking, child sex tourism, child prostitution, and child pornography. The minimum age for consensual sex is 18. Nevertheless, according to human rights organizations, children were sexually exploited and victims of trafficking.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations continued to expand its Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU), which is responsible for investigating cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse, providing guidance to police officers across the country on cases involving children, and liaising with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection’s Department of Children Services to identify and rescue abused children. During the year the AHTCPU opened a new office in Mombasa and increased the number of officers assigned to the unit. In March the AHTCPU also opened a cybercenter in Nairobi to increase its capacity to investigate cases involving online child exploitation.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 1 September 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 677]

Kenyan children are victims of human trafficking within and outside the country, and they are exploited to engage in domestic work, agricultural work, fishing, begging, and street vending. Children are also victims of commercial sexual exploitation in tourism-heavy areas, such as Nairobi and Kisumu, and on the coast in informal settings. (22,26,27) In rural areas, poverty drives some families to engage in trafficking children to urban centers for domestic work. (28) Children are also victims of commercial exploitation in drug production sites (khat) ,  near gold mines, and along major highways; and they are sexually exploited by fishermen on Lake Victoria. (22) In addition, children in Kenya scavenge dumpsites and streets for scrap material, including metal and glass. (5) These children earn about $1 to $2 per day by sorting through waste, while often risking injury and exposing themselves to infectious diseases, such as tetanus. Evidence suggests that these children are also exposed to mercury due to e-waste recycling and gold mining. (5) Reports also indicate that children ages 10 to 17 mine or harvest sand and work in Busia, Homa Bay, Kilifi, Kitui, Machakos, and Nakuru counties increasing their likelihood of developing aggravated asthma, lung or heart disease, and cancer. (10, 14, 29) Most children who are engaged in child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation, are girls; however, boys are also involved. (5, 30)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 12 October 2001

[accessed 16 February 2011]

[61] The Committee notes that the State party participated in the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation, held in Stockholm in 1996, and subsequently established a National Plan of Action to prevent and combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. However, the Committee is concerned about the large and increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography, especially among those engaged in domestic labor and street children. Concern is also expressed at the insufficient programs for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of children who are the victims of such abuse and exploitation.

Asia Is Not Alone: Sex Tourism in Mombasa

Josh Ruxin, The New York Times, January 13, 2009

[accessed 7 June 2011]

Mombasa’s child sex trade is a disturbing thing to watch, but I found that it’s exploding everywhere in this scenic city, one of Africa’s major tourist destinations. Officially, the problem doesn’t exist, but according to one estimate, up to 30,000 girls between 12 and 14 years old are currently being lured into hotels and private villas along Mombasa’s north and south coasts where they are sexually exploited with promises of riches and trips abroad. In Malindi, impoverished children of both sexes looking for a new life sell their bodies to tourists along the historic town’s white, sandy beaches, and Lamu Old Town – which five years ago was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site – is now known as a place that attracts men looking for young boys.

Most child prostitution incidents go unreported, but when they’re brought to light, authorities mostly do nothing. They downplay Mombasa’s role as a child-sex capital for fear that its already fragile tourism industry would be further affected. The laws don’t help either, since they don’t specifically address child prostitution or provide for stiff punishment of offenders.

Child prostitution up after Kenya's election bloodshed

Cable News Network CNN, July 31, 2008

[accessed 13 Aug  2013]

This time last year, Janet Kimani spent her days at school and her nights fighting with her little brothers over what to watch on the family's flickering TV set.  A girl lies in a brothel next to a baby born to a prostitute in Mombasa, Kenya, a center of trade in underage girls.  1 of 2 Now, she sleeps all day and sells her skinny, 14-year-old body at night for $3 an hour.  "There are so many of us girls on the streets these days," Janet, dressed in a black miniskirt and white blouse, told The Associated Press in Eldoret, a western Kenya town that was a flashpoint of this year's deadly postelection crisis.

KENYA: HIV services are scarce on the street

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN PlusNews, Mombasa, 29 July 2008

[accessed 13 March 2015]

A HIGH-RISK LIFE - "These people have to make a living, so the girls often turn to sex work and will easily have sex without protection; they are also unprotected from sexual violence," Wairimu said. "They are especially vulnerable because many are children orphaned by HIV and have had no real family structures around them when they were growing up."  Illegal drugs were widely available on the streets, and while high on glue and other substances, young people often made unsafe sexual choices or shared needles, putting themselves at greater risk of contracting HIV.  "The majority of the street families in Mombasa and elsewhere have succumbed to HIV due to the 'don't care' lifestyle practiced on the streets," Dona said, adding that people living on the street were extremely sexually active. - sccp

Kenya: Act On Child Sex Tourism, Say Hoteliers

Daily Nation, Nairobi, 11 December 2007

[partially accessed 7 June 2011 - access restricted]

Hoteliers want a new law enacted to allow State inspectors to access private villas and homes to fight child prostitution.  The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) claimed there was a possibility of child sex abusers fleeing from mainstream hotels and finding new hideouts in the villas, small lodgings and private homes.  KAHC Coast branch chairman, Mr Mohamed Hersi, also urged the government to bar 29 listed international child sex abusers from entering the country. Their names and descriptions are on the internet, he said.  A recent report by United Nations International Child Education Foundation reveals that today, major hotels account for four per cent of child sex tourism while private villas and homes account for 12 per cent.

Chad child scandal can hit Kenya

Munene Kilongi, Nairobi, Africa News, 14 November 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 June 2011]

In Kenya, nearly 30 percent of children between the ages of 12 to 18 years are engaged in child prostitution according to a study by UNICEF last year. Most of these children can be found in urban areas.  The practice is most prevalent in the coast province which is a favourite haunt for paedophiles disguised as tourists. Although sexual exploitation of children is a criminal offence under Kenya's penal code and also the children's act, a study by UNICEF last year found an extremely high level of acceptance of commercial sexual abuse by those most closely involved with them including parents.

New study shames human traffickers

Patrick Mathangani, The East Standard, May 11, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 14 September 2011]

Dr George Gona, an expert on trade unions at the University of Nairobi, said trafficking of children within Kenya was also rampant.  Studies showed children were being removed from their rural homes to urban centres to work as domestic helps and prostitutes.

Prostitution luring girls from schools

Mathias Ringa, The East Standard, Nairobi, 20 April 2007

[accessed 7 June 2011]

Child prostitution is one of the major challenges to education of girls in Coast Province.  Coast Provincial Director of Education (PDE), Mrs Connie Mogaka, said there has been a steady rise of school dropouts in the province as girls from poor families fall prey to prostitution.  Speaking to The Standard on Thursday, shortly after launching an education service charter and strategic plan, Mogaka said boys have not been spared either as they drop out of school after being lured by rich female tourists who laze around the coastal beaches.

About Kenya

Village Volunteers

[accessed 7 June 2011]

WOMEN’S ISSUES - Girls often lack the information and power necessary to negotiate for delayed or safe sex. Girls living in the rural areas are particularly vulnerable: they are living in poverty and have limited opportunities for education and employment. Many girls and young women are forced into sexual trading in order to survive. Some are forced into marriage at an early age, becoming parents and family caretakers while still in their teens. They are deprived of their rights as children and are denied rights to develop at the natural pace.

First Lady urges the church to empower vulnerable groups

State House, Mombasa, April 14, 2007

[accessed 7 June 2011]

The First Lady, at the same time, expressed the need for the Church in the Coastal region to step up measures to protect young girls from sexual exploitation.  She regretted that the incidence of child prostitution and sex tourism was high at the Coast.

The First Lady also expressed the need for churches to make deliberate efforts to mobilize communities to take action towards solving problems that affect them.

KENYA: Bangaisha na Mzungus - youth, sex and tourism on the Kenyan coast

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN In-Depth, Nairobi, 23 February 2007

[accessed 13 March 2015]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

KENYA: YOUTH, SEX AND TOURISM ON THE COAST - "When I was sixteen I became pregnant and my parents were very upset.  They threw me out of my home and I dropped out of school, so me and my boyfriend at the time decided we would move to Mombasa to start a new life here. After three months he left me, and I had to find a way to make money," she said.

Western countries accused of fueling conflicts in Africa

[Last access date unavailable]]

At the same time the minister instructed Labour officers countrywide to crackdown on farms and other facilities that may be promoting child labour.  He said the recent shocking revelation of child-prostitution in the country was worrying and warned that the perpetrators will soon be brought to book.

A generation betrayed

[access information unavailable]

Nation Newspapers carries a story today where the German ambassador to Kenya laments on the practice of child trafficking. More than 20,000 children are trafficked annually in Kenya! 20,000! Where are the parents whenever this practice is going on?

The ambassador states that the practice of child trafficking and prostitution is rampant due to private villas where these activities are carried out. Kenya currently has the notorious reputation as a hot sex tourism destination. Most of these villas are rented by visiting tourists. Anything can happen behind closed doors and nothing can be done to these law breakers. At 20,000 a year, these are too many children who fall through the cracks without the care of the government or families. With unmonitored villas and houses, the practice continues without interruption.

Child Prostitution in Kenya

Joshua Wanyama, African Path, December 19, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 June 2011]

What is even surprising is the fact that children are coming to the coastal region which is in the east from Western Kenya. The parents have to play a role in their children’s entry into the trade. While tourism is a boon for Kenya, it is also the root cause for child prostitution.

While the starting age of these sex workers wasn’t mentioned, the fact that they are in primary school puts them between ages 10 and 14. This is truly sad. How can we protect the innocence of youth and help develop our children into mature and whole adults while they are exposed to such circumstances?

Campaign for hotels to sign ethics code

Patrick Mayoyo, Daily Nation, 06 Feb 2007

[accessed 7 June 2011]

A campaign has been launched to ensure that hotels in Coast Province sign a code of conduct to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation.

TRAINING WORKERS - The code calls for ethical policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children from hotels and for them to train their employees on how to prevent child sexual exploitation by tourists.

The campaign follows the release of a report by UNICEF in December, which revealed that child prostitution at the coast had hit alarming levels.

A campaign has been launched to ensure that hotels in Coast Province sign a code of conduct to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation.

TRAINING WORKERS - The code calls for ethical policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children from hotels and for them to train their employees on how to prevent child sexual exploitation by tourists.

The campaign follows the release of a report by UNICEF in December, which revealed that child prostitution at the coast had hit alarming levels.

Child prostitution reaching alarming levels in Kenya

Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC News, December 20, 2006

[accessed 19 September 2011]

A report undertaken by the Kenyan Government and the UN children's fund, UNICEF, studied the sexual exploitation of children on the Kenyan coast.  It found that 30 per cent of girls aged between 12 and 18 are selling sex for cash at resorts and that most of their clients are European men.

The shame of Kenya’s Coast

Ngumbao Kithi, The East African

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 June 2011]

The Kenya government’s efforts to stop child prostitution is hampered by many factors, among them the societal acceptance that the vice is an acceptable means of earning a living, reports Ngumbao Kithi.  The UN report that confirms the existence of commercial sex tourism at the Kenyan coast shows the challenges that come with tourism in a poor country.

The promise of easy money has seen underage girls registering for identity cards to falsify their ages and be allowed to gain entry into hotels and entertainment spots, says the report by the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF).

New UNICEF-research in Kenya on child sex tourism and CSEC with shocking findings [PDF]

Astrid Winkler, Respect Austria, September 22, 2006 -- The Code Quarterly Newsletter No.9, July–September 2006

[accessed 7 June 2011]

[Page 9]

Commercial sex tourism is gaining acceptance among children at the Coast, a new study has revealed. The study says 76.3 per cent of girls interviewed said the practice was a "normal and an acceptable means to earn a living". In more shocking findings of the study on the extent of sex tourism and sexual exploitation of children at the Coast, the UNICEF reports that 35.5 per cent of the girls and boys interviewed said they had unprotected sex when their clients demanded it.

Prostitution in Isiolo Alarming

Joseph M. Muriuki, The Nation, Nairobi, September 2, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 June 2011]

Child prostitution in Isiolo town has reached alarming levels and steps should be taken urgently to stem it.  Young girls aged between 14 and 16 year comb the streets of the town at night or hang near bars and brothels waiting for clients.

Many young girls drop out of school to join the booming prostitution business, which is seen as an alternative way out of poverty.

Prostitutes 'play risk lottery'

Agence France-Presse AFP, Toronto, 2006-08-17

[accessed 9 June 2011]

Child prostitutes in Kenya play a risky lottery with HIV infection, seeing up to five partners a night and using condoms only 60% of the time, says a United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) researcher.

The glimpse into child prostitution in Kenya was presented by the Unicef at the 16th International Aids Conference, and lifted the veil on a world previously closed to researchers working on the global HIV epidemic.

Parents accused of luring girls into prostitution

Philip Mbaji, The East Standard, August 7, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 June 2011]

An international NGO has accused parents in Kwale District of encouraging their children to engage in prostitution.  World Vision-Kenya officials said many parents in the district encouraged their daughters to indulge in prostitution with tourists and other clients for cash.

Child Trafficking in the U.K.

Ambrose Musiyiwa (amusiyiwa), OhmyNews, 2006-07-25

Click [here] to connect.  The URL is not shown because of its length

[accessed 23 April 2012]

She was a teenage orphan living on the streets of Nairobi when a man approached her and promised her work in the United Kingdom. He told her she would be working as a house girl.

True to his word, her "savior" brought her into the U.K. -- but instead of placing her with a family the man took her to a brothel, where she was systematically raped, beaten, and forced to work as a prostitute.

Three months later, when the 16-year-old Kenyan girl became pregnant, she was forced to continue sleeping with a succession of men until she was almost due to give birth. The heavily pregnant teenager was then removed from the brothel, driven out of the town where she had been held, and dumped many miles away on the streets of Sheffield.

Booming tourism boosts juvenile sex trade

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, MALINDI, 17 July 2006

[accessed 13 March 2015]

Sixteen-year-old Judy (not her real name) sits in a nightclub sipping beer with two other girls in this coastal resort town popular with foreign tourists thanks to its numerous beach hotels and villas.

She is one of a rising number of under-age girls who have taken to commercial sex due to poverty or the allure of easy money from tourists. "I had no choice, I had dropped out of school, I had no job and my parents have four other children to take care of," said Judy. Her 58-year-old European boyfriend has bought her a car, pays her rent and gives her money to support her family.

Hotels warned over child prostitution

Emmanuel Kola,  Kenya Broadcasting Corp KBC, June 02, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 June 2011]

The Coat PC, Ernest munyi has decried child prostitution and alcohol abuse by teenagers in some bars, tourist hotels and disco joints especially in Mombasa and Malindi and has threatened to close down these establishments. Munyi said the vices had reached alarming proportions in the two towns which were frequented by thousands of tourists and told owners of such premises that the government would not hesitate to withdraw their licenses.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – KENYA – It is reported that there has been an increase in child participation through the Child-to-Child Methodology developed by Child Trust Kenya, where children form clubs identifying problems that affect them and come up with solutions. Various rehabilitation centers are said to have set up children’s clubs and the children invite their peers to their activities.

Dzoro can do better in war on sex pests

The East Standard, May 22, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 June 2011]

Child prostitution is one of the numerous abuses that dehumanise children everywhere in the country. Where children are not being enslaved into prostitution, they are being defiled, tortured and, at times, killed by the very people who are supposed to protect them — parents and guardians.

Raided Hotel Tied to Child Prostitution, Says Minister

The Nation, Nairobi, May 22, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 June 2011]

Mr Dzoro told the Nation in an interview that he had interviewed mothers of the three schoolgirls, who confirmed that they regularly offered their daughters, aged between eight and 14 years, to the tourists for sex in exchange for cash.

Child Prostitution a Menace at the Coast

Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children KAACR, 12/13/2005

[accessed 9 June 2011]

Participants said children are lured into having sex with tourists along the beach. They claimed the children are also forced to take nude photographs, which the tourists later use to produce pornographic material in their countries. High poverty level and pressure from parents were the main reasons given for the abuse.

The Protection Project - Kenya [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

Child sex tourism has also been increasing in Kenya. Although most victims are girls, there is an increasing number of cases of boys being exploited by foreign sex tourists. Reportedly, both local and foreign tour agents guide tourists to specific areas of the country where they can find children in prostitution. For example, in Malindi and Mombasa, the organizers of tourist-oriented traditional dances use children in their shows, and it is not uncommon for tourists to request sexual favors of the performers. Child prostitution is also widespread in towns that have foreign military bases.

Sexual Abuse Continues Unabated

Esther Mwangi, News from Africa, 2003

[accessed 9 June 2011]

Even with the enactment of the Children s Act in March 2002, sexual exploitation of children continues unabated with disastrous consequences, owing to a number of underlying factors.

The AIDS/Orphan Situation in Kenya

Twana Twitu (Our Children)

[accessed 9 June 2011]

CHILD PROSTITUTION (A.K.A. "SURVIVAL SEX") - It has been found that even guardians and others initially willing to help, find themselves unable to cope with the additional responsibility of supporting extra children. As a result, guardians are increasingly either sending these children out to the streets with instructions to return home with money or expelling them from their homes. So, what happens to a child with nowhere to go? What is the quickest way for a teenager to make money? For females, prostitution is usually the easiest option.

STREET LIFE - As others have said, the AIDS pandemic is devastating Kenya and her children are paying a terrible price. By now, who hasn’t heard about Nairobi’s street children?! They are the “Chokora” or “scavengers”. Attributable to the fact that many AIDS orphans are out of school, without property and hungry, the phenomenon of AIDS orphans exploding the streets is becoming yet another epidemic the Kenyan government has had to face. While many issues are a factor in this problem, it is undeniable that HIV/AIDS is pushing children into the street and putting them in the path of many dangers including the risk of HIV contraction and transmission. The children forage the city's garbage dumps for food and withstand traumatizing abuse from the police and public alike. Many, simply to escape their pain, engage in sniffing glue or other hallucinogenic solvents, which impair judgment and yet again, make them more vulnerable. Based on extensive interviews with service providers in Kenya, for the most part, “an unprotected girl living on the streets will sooner of later end up working as a prostitute.”

The vicious circle of sexual exploitation

Zachary Ochieng,  News from Africa, August 2002

[accessed 17 February 2011]

According to the report, child sexual exploitation in Kenya exists in the form of child prostitution, incest, early child marriages, rape, sodomy, indecent assault, and defilement. The report notes that there are a number of children joining prostitution as a means of survival. Children - especially those from slum areas - are exposed to sex at an early age. "An overwhelming majority of children in Kenya are abused in the streets. They are either orphaned, destitute or from families facing conflicts", says the report.

A unique feature of child prostitution in Kenya is that people take in destitute children but instead of caring for them, they hire the children out as prostitutes from time to time. Some children are also kept in brothels alongside adult prostitutes - htcp

Child Prostitutes Brought to SA

Mandy Rossouw, BEELD, Johannesburg, 2003-02-19

[accessed 9 June 2011]

Child prostitution is flourishing in South Africa and syndicates are bringing thousands of children from Asiatic and African countries into the country to sell their bodies. A report compiled by UN officials who investigated child abuse, child rape and prostitution in South Africa claims that children were abducted or lured with false promises from Angola, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Eastern Europe.

Talking about CSEC

ECPAT International Newsletters, Issue No : 48  1/July/2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 June 2011]

In Kenya, ECPIK is running a national campaign to raise awareness about CSEC issues. Television is to be a major tool of communication for the campaign, with advertisements running nationally

Who are the Street Children?

Kivuli (Shelter) - The House of Street Children

[accessed 7 June 2011]

They are children who cannot rely on their families to provide them what's necessary to live and grow up peacefully. Even though few of them still maintain some kind of bond with their parents, particularly with their mothers, street children live by their wits in the back streets of huge cities, begging, collecting garbage to be recycled, committing thefts or prostituting themselves.

Sexual Abuse Part of Life for Kenya's Street Children

Gary Strieker, Cable News Network CNN, NAIROBI, August 28, 1996

[accessed 6 June 2011]

Sexual exploitation is a fact of life for them.  They can't avoid sexual abuse because when they sleep, wherever they sleep, it's on the streets.  For girls on the streets, as young as six or seven years, sexual abuse usually starts in gangs.  When they are new on the streets, they are raped in order to be accepted as a member of the street gang,

Report on the mission of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children to Kenya (25 August to 1 September 1997

UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-fourth session, 28 January 1998

[accessed 7 June 2011]

3. At the same time, specialists working with children in the streets were of the opinion that poverty per se is not the only cause, although it certainly aggravates matters, but that abuse or rejection within families is the primary reason for the increase in street children and the consequent vulnerability to commercial sexual exploitation. The breakdown of traditional family values and the culture of African extended family were frequently cited as most compelling causes leading to a moral disintegration of society, again making children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Children escape physical and sexual abuse from home and from dysfunctional families affected by unemployment, substance abuse and criminality, and end up in the streets. Cultural practices in some communities (such as Nanyuki/Mt. Kenya) where families send children out to earn money through prostitution are also compounding the problem of sexual exploitation of children, but poverty is once again the underlying factor.

4. In addition, the increasing number of single parent families, and in particular female-headed households, results in children having to supplement the family income or being left to their own devices. In view of the scarcity of employment opportunities, girl children might often be pushed to engage in commercial sex, with or without the knowledge of their parents or family. sccp




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - KENYA [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2007

[accessed 7 June 2011]

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Kenya is often conducted through organised networks in private houses. Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest and a major port city, has been identified as one of the main cities where CSEC takes place. It is a notorious location for sailors and marines who, while docking there, sexually exploit children. Reportedly, when an American Navy Aircraft carrier docks in Mombasa, girls can come from as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania or Uganda.

A number of agencies have reported on the growing incidence of child sex tourism in the past five years, especially along the coastal areas. The UNICEF study, The Extent and Effect of Sex Tourism and Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Kenyan Coast, conducted and released in 2006, indicates that up to 30 per cent of all the 12 to 18-year-olds living in the coastal areas of Malindi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Diani are involved in casual sex work. As such, it is estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 girls living in these areas are being sexually exploited in tourism at irregular intervals or seasonally. A further 2,000 to 3,000 girls and boys are sexually exploited year-round by sex tourists, in these same areas. Other estimates suggest that as many as 30,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 14 are lured into hotels and private villas to be sexually exploited. During the low tourism season, local demand sustains the sexual exploitation of children. Children involved in prostitution are also compelled to provide sex to locals who help them gain access to tourists, such as beach boys, bar staff, waiters and others. These illegal activities involve tour operators, hotels and well-connected agents.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 16 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - There is a high incidence of child prostitution in Kenya, particularly in Nairobi and Mombasa. There are also reports of widespread prostitution among girls who hawk or beg by day, and work as prostitutes by night. Girls working in the agricultural sector are reportedly sometimes forced to provide sexual services in order to obtain plantation work. Sudanese and Somali refugee children are alleged to be involved in prostitution in Kenya.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Trafficking in children was a problem, as was child prostitution. Child prostitution has grown considerably due both to economic contraction and to the increase in the number of children orphaned because of the spread of HIV/AIDS. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), approximately 30 thousand girls under the age of 19 years were engaged in prostitution in the country.

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