Kenya is rapidly becoming one of the major destinations for child sex tourism.
According to ECPAT UK, an organisation that campaigns against child trafficking, at least 30,000 Kenyan children are being exploited in the sex industry. Their report goes on to describe some of the reasons for the endemic nature of the crime:
“It is well recognised that local men and those from neighbouring countries sexually exploit Kenyan children, but sex tourists, both men and women, are also active in the country. Activists believe the rise in the sex tourism industry is the result of the weak application of the law and the corruption of some officials, which allows offenders to commit abuses against children with impunity….”
Faith-based projects with strong values predicated on the dignity of all human beings and with concern for the protection of the most vulnerable from exploitation are best placed to succeed where overall funding is limited, and governmental and local community motivation is low due to apathy, corruption, and public taboos about discussing issues of sex.
The Centre for Compassion, Rehabilitation and Development in Athi River, near Nairobi, is an encouraging example of such a project. It is part of the youth ministry programme of the Anglican Diocese of Machakos, whose Bishop, Joseph Mutungi, is concerned about pervasive indoctrination and sexual exploitation of young people in Kenya, and wants to offer an opportunity for transformation through Christ and a return to Bible-based values.
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