At Gazi Bay, Kenya, poverty exacerbated by drought is leaving foreign fishermen and local motorcycle transport drivers as the richest men around, able to pay young girls in food or in-kind to have sex with them. Thousands of under-age children are said to be in this trade, mostly with the knowledge of their parents, to feed their families. Local workers with organizations are trying to educate girls and their families about mitigating the risks of sex work for children and finding other sources of income.
Rose, 15 years old, eldest of 3, her family’s bread winner and a class seven drop out, has engaged in sex work for two years. Unaccompanied girls at Gasi beach buying from fishermen: GIRL 1 is 15 years old and in class 5; GIRL 2 is 17 years old and in class 7. Assupta is a 14 year old primary school dropout whose mother gets her to help sell palm wine and also sell her body to help support the family. Emanuel Kahaso coordinates the End Commercial Sex program for Strengthening Community Partnership And Empowerment ( SCOPE). Iddi Abdulrahman Juma is vice chairman of the Gasi Beach Management Unit. Saumu Salim Ramwendo and Ann Okello are community health workers with SCOPE. Hamisa Zaja is an activist who talks to girls about alternative ways of making income; she is coordinates programs for persons living with disability in Coastal Kenya.
Produced by Diana Wanyonyi. Wanyonyi is a news reporter with community radio Baraka FM in Mombasa, Kenya. WINGS series producer, Frieda Werden.