By David Odongo
Nairobi, Kenya: The Nairobian has unearthed a scheme where poor teenage girls are trafficked from villages in India and Nepal to Nairobi on a tourist visa, but are then being subjected to sexual slavery by rich Asian businessmen.
The girls are recruited to come to Kenya to be part of sensual Mujra dancers that many male Asians love to watch in the evenings. But apart from sexually charged dancing, the girls, who many can’t speak English, also provide extras.
So popular has been the Mujra culture in Kenya that so far, more than five places in Nairobi offer the dances. The dances take place every day and the joints are usually filled to the rafters. In all the joints, the minimum number of women, who can perform, is six but usually, 15 women is the ideal number to dance all through the night. In some places, they have special rooms where the woman can give a reveller a dance, as she strips naked. The women also offer extras is the client is willing to pay for it. So secretive is the underhand dance deals that only loyal and trusted customers pay and get the extra services of the dancer.
In some joints, exclusively set up for Mujra, customers sit on couches in poorly lit rooms and watch the ladies dance. The bright light is focused on the ladies, and not on the clients.
If a man sees a lady he likes, he will give a tip to a handler, who will then place a flower necklace on the lady’s neck. The men are not permitted to touch the girls By the end of the evening, the lady who has the highest number of flowers round her neck is the favorite amongst men. Men will then launch a bid for the lady, and the man with the highest bid will take the girl for a private dance as well as extras.
After the men with money have battled it out and one of them takes the girl, the rest of the men will pick a girl of their choice and negotiate the rates with the pimp.
The Nairobian can exclusively reveal that most of these woman are shipped from India on a tourist visa, and the mujra business is a cover for a thriving trafficking business.
In May 15, 2005, the Indian government banned bars offering Mujra dancing and more than 800,000 erotic dancers were rendered jobless. Social intolerance for institutions that exploit female sexuality led to the ban since the dances were fronts for human trafficking and prostitution.
“It is a perfect opportunity for astute businessmen. Many Indian men don’t like visiting local prostitutes, and the high end Indian prostitutes are very expensive, so it is easier to get the women into the country, pimp them out to Asian men who are willing to pay” reveals our source.
The girls enter Kenya on tourist visas to visit their relatives, but end up working in the secret brothels as dancers and prostitutes. The businessmen organise everything for the girls, including accommodation, and to recoup the cost spent on the them, the pimps decide who the girls sleep with and how much they are paid.