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Sex Tourism: Africa’s Male Prostitutes

One of the most common reasons non-Africans visit Africa is its tourism and wildlife. But of all the scenes that might come to mind, having a wild night with a male prostitute might be farfetched. It is not uncommon that old white ladies travel to Africa during getaways or vacations. New websites have even sprung up to make gigolos more accessible and local rich women have explored the services of the male sex workers too.

What are the Gigolos Like?

In Gambia, Gigolos, aka Bumsters, could be waiters, taxi drivers, holding a menial job or just plain waiting on the tourist arrival for business. They are known to be very persistent with securing their female tourists.  Many of these sex prostitutes would prefer to be regarded as escorts or companions, providing companionship for these ladies who are lonely. They present themselves for service to women who may require their help. However, several of these end in sexual intimacy.

Just as men are known to splash their wealth on female counterparts, buying them expensive gifts, wealthy white ladies provide similar experience to gigolos. Rather than parade themselves like their female counterparts, gigolos are known to directly approach potential clients. A certain account in an article by Kimberley Fehr, given by a female tourist in The Gambia reads

“I take a taxi to Boboi Beach Lodge, a rustic haven an hour down the coast near Kartong at the Senegal border. The taxi driver is friendly, not pushy. But as we approach the lodge, he starts to close the deal.

“You need a friend in the Gambia,” he says.
“I don’t want a friend.”
“One night with me and you’ll want me again and again.”
“Thank you,” I say, “but I’ll be okay.”
“I can spend the night with you,” he says, unloading my bags from the back of his jeep, smiling kindly at me. “You shouldn’t sleep alone. It’s lonely to sleep alone.”

I thank him for his kind offer, and that’s all.”

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Sex Tourists

Old white ladies usually in their fifties visit the shores of Africa particularly The Gambia in a bid to renew sexual adventures. DailyMail in this article gave account of the experiences of several British women in the hands of gigolos. Sarah Jarvis, a mother of four children and four grandchildren and in her fifties said;
“Imagine what it was like for me, a fifty-something women who felt abandoned, unloved and on the shelf, thinking no man would ever find me attractive again. Here was a beautiful young man with the most incredible, fit body, begging me to go to bed with him.

“Even though alarm bells were ringing, I thought: ‘Why not? What if I never get this opportunity again?’

“He asked me to go for a walk with him when we were in the restaurant. My friend said ‘You can’t be serious’, but I said: ‘Why not?’ And off we went. He kissed me and before I knew what was happening I was inviting him up to my hotel room.”

“I know people will think: ‘How could you be so stupid?’ But you have to realise just how seductive it is, if you feel fat, old and ugly, to have a beautiful young man saying he cannot live without you and making love to you as if you were a stunning creature.”

Holiday romance … Tourists dance in a Kololi bar with Gambians . Credit: The Sun

Several white women, usually in their 50s and 60s, who have lost hope of being approached by good looking male counterparts have resorted to sex tourism in order to fulfill their sexual demands, and sometimes their search for revitalized love. The women are usually wealthy and have enough to throw around.  Some intentionally leave their countries to meet gigolos in Africa while others accidentally meet them while on visits. However, more wealthy locals are also using the services of these gigolos.

Not Just the Gambia

African Gigolos are not in The Gambia alone. Largely, countries with great beaches and heavy attractions for female tourists easily serve as conducive environments for gigolos. Lagos, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa also feature prominently in countries where this profession thrives. These young men are waiting for older women who look to experience sexual satisfaction they would not easily get any longer. Some of these gigolos are natives, while others come from other African countries like Senegal, Sudan, Ghana and so on.

New online platforms have also sprung up that enlists services of gigolos. Gigolos are not only found on beaches, several appear in bars, night clubs, or any other social environment where lonely women can easily be sighted.

In the End

Some countries like Gambia see sex tourism as a  problem and have made half-hearted efforts to reduce it.
During the 2002-2003 tourist season, the Gambian law-enforcement agencies, in collaboration with the national tourism association, launched an ‘anti-bumster’ campaign.

Uniformed security personnel rounded up obvious-looking bumsters, shaved off their dreadlocks and began routinely patrolling the tourist areas along the coast.

But the women travelling for sex and love are not being deterred, nor are the impoverished young men who  sell their bodies.

Some gigolo relationships eventually develop into lasting and happy marriages. Young men take advantage of the influx of older and usually wealthy female tourists to escape poverty and seek a better life abroad.

However some of these relationships, in places like Gambia and Kenya, are short-lived and end in tearful farewells at the airport. The gigolo would then wait on the next female tourist to ignite a new adventure with.

Gambian gamble … Polly Francis and 32-year-old Lamin Sarr . Photo Credit : The Sun


[Header image]– Ferry bumster -local boy preying on tourists’ naivety. Flickr / red hand records
Images used in this article are originally from this article by of The Sun


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