Travel for Fun — Sex Tourism in Disguise

The shocking truth about young boys on beach in Zanzibar

Travelling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. Ibn Battuta

Travel has become a norm for most of us in the West.

We all love to travel.

Many people I know in London, who work super hard likes to travel. It has become a norm to go away for a weekend somewhere in Europe like Italy, Spain, Portugal or even further like Turkey or Zanzibar..! When I was working for the corporate I used to take all the weekends I could and go to Italy for short breaks.

I loved it. It was different. It was something new. I could practise my very bad Italian. I could eat different food, see different architecture and learn about the culture. I was never a fanatic of a traveller. It was something to do instead of spending a rainy weekend in London. However, there is another side to this.

Because I am a woman, on my own I’d get some people come up to me and offer various things such as a tour guide, or go to this restaurant or that restaurant. It’s all innocent and I thought nothing of it. However, when my husband and I went to Zanzibar before the world’s pandemic something sinister was apparent. I was shocked!


Zanzibar is part of Tanzania. It’s an island about 30 min or even less flight away in a tiny plane. When I say tiny plane I mean like max 10 people. You cannot stand up in the cabin because it’s so small. The pilot is your safety announcement guy. When the plane started the door was open for the pilot to check something…

A photo taken by me before getting on this plane

My seat had no air conditioning. If I did have it it would only be blown up from a tiny hole above my head. And it’s hot in Zanzibar. It’s a wet heat. Everyone has sweat running down on their backs as a result. Once you get to this beautiful place you are surrounded by the sea, coconuts, fresh fruit and wonderful hospitality.

The Discovery

Zanzibar is known for honeymooners. It will be no surprise to see lots of couples enjoying their time together. However, Zanzibar is also known for women over a certain age. These women like to hang out with young boys. These boys are dressed up as maasai, walking on a beach looking for women to have fun with.

We stayed a nice place nothing too extravagant and not shabby. We were in the Italian side of the island. When we got down to the beach we noticed masses of young boys walking on beach. They are dressed as maasais. That was odd! Zanzibar is 99% muslim. What a maasai be doing on a beach? It’s very suspicious!

I didn’t think much of it but my husband said ‘there must be something going on!’ It turned out these boys sell themselves to women for sex. I was shocked. However, it’s not shocking at all. It’s popular for British women to go to Turkey for some fun too. There has been holiday programmes showing this exact behaviour.

Ok, maybe some would like to sugar coat it and call it ‘people just come to have fun’ but the fact is women come to have sex in a holiday destination.

‘From the evil seed of lust all other deadly sins had sprung forth: pride in himself and contempt of others, covetousness in using money for the purchase of unlawful pleasure….’ James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I don’t judge, each to their own. However, there must be a need for it seeing how many boys were walking on a beach. I went to step my feet into the ocean. My husband was a few meters behind me. I had about 4 boys/young men trying to prey on me. I couldn’t get rid of them even if I had said I am married. Only when my husband came to me they disappeared.

It’s not “safe” to be there on your own you’ll get that sort of attention! Unless, of course, you are searching for that type of fun. I remember when I moved to Rome, Italy. I dyed my hair dark so I don’t have “the harassment” of the Italians. It was no help. They’d follow me up the street. It’s the same type of behaviour in Zanzibar except a bit more sinister.

I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s never fun to sell yourself for sex it doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a young man. I hope we can have fun without hurting people. However, the attitude of ‘working hard’ so I ‘party even harder’ is ingrained in people particularly in the West.

Until that changes no changes will be anywhere else. This pandemic has put the stop for it for at least a little while. I’d like to hope there’s a brighter tomorrow. I’d like to believe people make better choices without hurting anyone. I’d like to believe in the goodness of human hearts.

Love and Light.

In the meantime this has been created…

And it has been talked about the sex industry in Gambia too…

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store