Child and Adolescent Pressures in Kenya
By admin August 22, 2017

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More frequently, girls in Kenya have resorted to selling their bodies to provide for their families. Girls as young as 12 years old are participating in “survival sex” as drought and soaring food prices make living conditions exceedingly difficult. Child prostitution has long been an adversity for Kenya. In 2008 UNICEF estimated that 30 percent of girls are forced into prostitution.

The US State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report claims, “…sex tourism [occurs] in Nairobi, Kisumu, and on the coast, particularly in informal settlements; at times, their exploitation is facilitated by family members.”

Many of these girls travel about 50 miles to the nearest large city, in unsafe conditions far from home, to provide their services. Sex workers are typically paid 50 shillings, or a little less than 50 cents, per client, according to Voices of America. In many cases girls are not even paid. Sometimes they are beaten and robbed of their payment; sometimes they are intoxicated with alcohol by their clients for free sex.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reports that Kenya has the second highest HIV rate. The organization also says Kenya is experiencing higher rates of gender-based violence and rape of children. This highlights the impact of humanitarian issues on females more than males.

While it is highly unrealistic to eradicate this grotesque practice in the near future, there is also little support to the thousands of girls dealing with this issue. The government has done very little to address the clear problem. Policies to increase education expenditures have not been put in place. IRC recommends the government implement subsidies that will provide safety and food nets for those who cannot sustain day to day living. Although the government has money, it is not spending it on social programs.

IRC has focused its work on educating girls and providing support. IRC aims to educate girls on safety tips to protect themselves, like traveling and working in groups. Girls that work in groups of three for example, are less likely to be taken advantage of by clients, says Mercy Lwambi, the women’s protection and empowerment manager for IRC. IRC’s support work includes clinical care and psychological assistance. The Hunger Security Program by Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority covers 66,000 households under the emergency phase. WFP and Kenya’s Red Cross are working on cash transfer programs.

The drought is responsible for malnutrition of 73,000 children in Kenya. In Turkana alone, 12 percent of children under five suffer from severe acute malnutrition. “2.6 million people are food insecure, and the area has seen a 5-fold increase in food prices,” reports IRC.

Drought and food insecurity has also lead to cutbacks in funding for humanitarian organizations that operate around the country. This has lead these groups to plead donors for more funding as many programs have been cut and workers have been laid off.

Fortunately, NDMA indicates that the drought is subsiding. Rainfall leaves the country a little more hopeful as the NDMA predicts growth of crops and improvement of livestock and, eventually, lives.

Further Reading:

Food Insecurity, Poverty Force Kenyan Girls Into ‘Survival Sex’

Kenya: Women and Girls Forced to Engage in Sex to Survive Near-Famine

Hunger: 73,000 children face death in Kenya

Food Security Outlook: Atypical high food insecurity expected through September

Kenyan girls trading sex for food: One woman’s battle to help




Thanks for sharing !

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