The Gambia has issued a warning to old women from the United Kingdom, who flocked the country to find ‘toy-boys’ to look elsewhere.
The West African country has been known in recent years for its sexed-up reputation, where older British women would typically go on holiday in search of younger men.
But Gambian officials are putting a stop to this industry, having announced they want to end the habit of people heading to the country with the sole aim of “just sex.”
Speaking on the menace, the director of the Gambia Tourism Board, Abubacarr Camara, said: “What we want is quality tourists.
“Tourists that come to enjoy the country and the culture, but not tourists that come just for sex.”
Camara explained that the former British colony aims to now move away from older female tourists in a bid to shift its reputation, which has previously been dubbed as a “real-life Tinder dream for geriatrics” by some.
Gambia gained independence in 1965, with sex tourism making an increase in the 1990s after Thomas Cook launched budget tours and cheap flights to the destination.
Young sex workers, otherwise known by locals as “beach boys,” have long been spotted escorting older women out of clubs to spend the night together.
Most Gambian men who do such work with older women in this way have been reportedly enticed into the industry by the lack of jobs and low wages in the country, where they can instead earn £200 for just one day of work – which equals a month’s salary.
They are said to search the white sand beaches for older women, who hail from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, as well as the United Kingdom.
A few of the encounters are arranged online before the women’s arrival, with the sex workers collecting them from the airport.
However, the tourism board in the country is hoping they can now attract higher-end tourists, millennials and those interested in ecotourism.
The government is also thinking of introducing laws to make it easier for police to arrest local beach boys and older women engaged in sex work, in a bid to deter prostitution.
Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hamat Bah, said tha Gambia wanted to move away from nightlife to wildlife, noting that the country has more than 300 different species of tropical birds.
Meanwhile, the national coordinator at the Child Protection Alliance, Lamin Fatty, said that the British government should also step in to stop Brits from exploiting young boys in the area who become involved in the industry.
“The High Commission has shown some engagement. But it’s not only about engagement, we also need financial and technical assistance.
“There could be much better collaboration between both countries to put solutions in place,” Lamin said.