The Gambia: A bit of young action? Yes, please, say the old ‘uns (Thursday 21st May 2009)

The Gambia: A bit of young action? Yes, please, say the old ‘uns

February 2009


Thailand, Brazil, Amsterdam. And now The Gambia. The smallest country in Africa attracts thousands of European tourists a year, eager for some winter sun – and a little bit of action.


This slither of West African land is on the list of sex tourism destinations. But it is mainly elder women who flock to this enclave for some young love, and who have been locally nicknamed “Gam-hags”.


Young men known as “bumsters” roam around, constantly hassling the female tourists, eager to charge them a fee to show them town – and also something else.


It is no surprise that so many young Gambians have given themselves to prostitution, charging a decent enough amount for their sculpted bodies. The young men are also provided with daily meals.


At the Departures lounge at Banjul International Airport, it is not uncommon to see a young local man embracing a foreign woman, maudlin tears streaming down her face, whispering tender words in her lover’s ear for the last time.


The hardest moment is officially parting – she walks towards the security check, glancing back to look at her ardent young lover, her eyes red and glassy, as he turns to make his way to the airport exit. But little does she know that instead of heading home to drown his sorrows in a pillow, he heads off to Arrivals, just in time to pick up a new client. And so the cycle begins.


Sex tourism is bad enough as it is – but it gets worse when minors are involved. Pedophiles are taking advantage of this poor country, with families more than willing to give away their little son or daughter in exchange for a bag of rice.