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UNICEF: Poverty Drives Kenyan Girls into Sex Work
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UNICEF: Poverty Drives Kenyan Girls into Sex Work
Along the Kenyan coast, the sexual exploitation of children and sex tourism is widely accepted. Many girls see it as an easy way to earn money and, for those from poor households, as a ticket out of poverty. The World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children promotes international cooperation for more effective action on sexual exploitation.
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Produced by UNICEF Television.

Find out more about UNICEF's work in Kenya.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
The beaches of Kenya draw visitors from around the world, but this idyllic region is one of the poorest in the country, and for those with limited economic opportunities, the lure of prostitution is strong. A recent UNICEF study found that at least 30 percent of girls in the region are engaged in casual sex work, and that they start as young as twelve.
SUSAN [Sex Worker]
We would sell fried fish along the roadside. Life was very hard. And if any was left over we would use it for a meal. We also needed cornmeal and we didn’t ever have that. There were many people to feed in the family, and so I decided to try something. But it’s not because I like what I’m doing.”
VOICEOVER
Leading tourist businesses have signed a Code of Conduct which discourages visitors from sexually exploiting children.
ISAAC RODBROT [Hotel Keepers’ Association]
One of the things we explain is that child prostitution is prohibited in this area. We also tell them that as a company we are signatories to the Code of Conduct and we completely prohibit it in our hotel and discourage it from the people we relate with.
VOICEOVER
UNICEF and its partners are trying to reduce the high level of acceptance of child prostitution that is another significant factor driving girls into sex work. The government of Kenya has introduced legislation to outlaw sexual exploitation. And a cash transfer program reaches about 65 thousand families.
AHMED HUSSEIN [Director of Child Services, Government of Kenya]
It gives them a predictable income, improves their human capital, and builds their confidence. We have seen changes in a number of families that are receiving the cash transfer.
VOICEOVER
Tourism is one of Kenya’s leading sources of income, and as the industry grows UNICEF and its partners are working to ensure that it does not take a toll on the poorest and most vulnerable. This is Chris Niles reporting from Mombasa, Kenya, for UNICEF Television. Unite for children.