For years many have referred to The Gambia as a place where sex tourism booms. The country has very nice beaches and has become a top destination for tourists from Europe.
Many of these European tourists are older women though who are impressed with the country’s beaches and hospitality of the people.
These women are also reported to often come in for Gambian young men called the Bumsters for sex and in some instances marriages.
That is why some have continuously called Gambia the biggest sex tourism destination in Africa.
But the young men in the Gambia called Bumsters or chantas have rejected claims that the county is the biggest African sex tourism destination.
They said the allegations of receiving payment for sex or dating older European women are false and mere fabrication.
When Africa Feeds reporters visited one of the beaches patronized by these European tourists, some of the young men (Bumsters) could be seen idling and in distress.
Hard hit by Covid-19
They are feeling the brunt of the current coronavirus pandemic since travels have been halted for now.
There are no tourists coming in and so their businesses have taken a nose dive rendering the once busy beaches in Gambia a ghost town.
Ebrima Jallow a horse rider, has been working at the beach since 2009 and is familiar with the claims of some of them offering sex to older European women in exchange for money.
He however rejected the claims saying they work to earn a living by helping these white old ladies out.
Jallow told Africa Feeds that when young men try to help some of these women out, some people misinterpret it wrongly.
“For us the Gambia is not a sex paradise, yea is possible though you never know but people sometimes see things and interpret it in different way, but for us if you come to the beach people are working.
Everyone has his own work, some are horse riders, some are Juice pressers some they sell like business [sic], so there is nobody on the beach who is working for free.” Ebrima Jallow told Africa Feeds.
No proof of sex tourism?
Baba Bah, another young Gambian at the beach told Africa Feeds that “I have never witnessed a Tourist paying somebody to have sex with that person.
Everybody you see in the beach have their license and we pay tax to the government every year, without having that card you cannot work in the beach.”
Bah has been working at the beach since 2011 and claims the reports of Gambia being a sex tourism destination are only being projected by foreign nationals to tarnish Gambia’s image.
“I have experienced a lot here at the beach working in the industry area. I have seen not only Gambians but many foreigners here. Neighboring country Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leon, all of them, their women, their men, they come and represent tourism here.
Gambians don’t move with old ladies here 60, 70 etc., Gambians start from 20, 30, 45 and above” Baba said.
These young Gambians say their government must register its displeasure over the sex tourism destination label as quickly as possible to protect the country’s image.
For years The Gambia has been termed as the smiling coast of Africa because of its hospitality and tranquility.
The beautiful nature of its demography attracts many tourists to visit the country yearly, but over the years it has been on the spotlight for the wrong reasons.