KENYA: Tackling underage sex work in Nyanza’s gold mines

NYATIKE, 7 February 2012 (PlusNews) – Inside a smoky makeshift kiosk, Julie*, 16, can hardly cope with the demand from her clients for a cup of tea and a snack – the men are parched from their work as gold miners in the western Kenyan district of Nyatike.
The money Julie makes from the kiosk is not sufficient, so she supplements it by having sex with the miners in exchange for money; it also buys their loyalty.

“These are my clients and I have to please them, so I allow them to do whatever they want so that they can come back tomorrow. If I don’t do that, they will go to my competitor,” she told IRIN/PlusNews. “The miners have money and they pay well for sex.”

Nyatike District is in Nyanza province, which has an HIV prevalence of 14.8 percent, double the national average. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics ranks Nyatike as one of the 10 poorest districts in the country, despite the gold boom.

At any given time, there are more than 1,000 miners in Nyatike’s gold mines; as many as 100 girls also spend their days there.


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