Child sex for a dollar on Kenya's palm-fringed beaches

Thursday June 14 2018

beach hotel, diani, kwale

View of Diani beach from a hotel window in Kenya's coastal county of Kwale. PHOTO | THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION 

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Sixteen-year-old Fatma doesn't bat an eyelid when asked what she has been doing since dropping out of school two years ago.

"Sex," she replied, giggling into the layers of her bright red headscarf. "It's easy to get men. I find them at the market, concerts, weddings and on the beach."

"Most girls in my village do it. I can get 100 ($1) to 500 ($5) shillings. Sometimes a tourist will give 1,000 ($10)."

Welcome to Kenya's idyllic palm-fringed beach resort of Diani: where the sands are pearl white, the waters clear turquoise - and you can have sex with a child for a dollar.

beach hotel, diani, kwale, tourist

Fatma, 16, who is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation, plays with her scarf during an interview in Kombani, 12 km from Diani in Kenya's coastal county of Kwale, on May 23, 2018. PHOTO | THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

From Thailand and the Philippines to the Dominican Republic and Brazil, sex tou