• While men make Sh25,000 the women make between Sh30,000 and Sh50,000 per session
  • Sex workers make up 90 percent of the female actors

Porn videos has taken root in Kenya and the law enforcement seems impotent in breaking cartels controlling this illegal sector.

The Nairobian witnessed a porn shoot in Nairobi's River Road.

It is 20 minutes of lousy scripting and acting in a dark, dingy and poorly lit room. At times, the camera man gives directions to the couple and children playing outside the 'studio.' The end result is a grainy, poorly shot video of a man huffing and puffing; a woman squealing. 

The man behind the Sh2 million a year third-rate 'enterprise' is a 33-year-old who drives an old model Rav 4, lives along Ngong Road and loves drinking along Koinange Street.

"It's a business like any other and I don't need support from the government. I want porn to be legalised so that I can make Sh8 million per movie, pay workers well as well as pay taxes. I can make up to Sh40 million a year from making and selling porn," he says.

His first stab at porn was by accident.

He had hosted a party in his house in Juja when he was pursuing his master's degree.

During the party, with alcohol flowing, he filmed a girl who was drunk. She was stripping and dancing in front of everybody. He posted the video online and it received more than 3,000 views in four hours before YouTube pulled it down.

"If I could get that much views in such a short time, I was sure half of the viewers would buy the video if I sold it. That's how I started shooting porn," he says.

His first discs were scratchy, depicting poorly shot movies with university students who covered their faces.

He then realised that this isn't what the market actually wanted. He recruited prostitutes who did not mind being filmed.

"It wasn't difficult, Kenyans can do anything if the price is right," he claims.

He makes up to eight films per year and sells a maximum of 5,000 copies to agents, who in turn sell them for between Sh250 and Sh500.

"I was among the first Kenyans to produce vernacular porn. Nowadays, I just produce videos in Kikuyu, Kiswahili, Kamba and Luhya. Other languages didn't have much returns," he adds.

He has competition and reveals that there are two other producers who earn twice as much as he does. Our efforts to reach the other two millionaire producers hit a snag as they were not willing to talk to journalists.

"I get calls from many people who want to act. There are so many men who would like to act in porn movies. There are also women who don't mind as long as the money is good," he says. Good money he says, is Sh25,000 for men because they do the hard work and 'enjoy,' while women are paid between Sh30,000 and Sh50,000 per session.

"Prostitutes make up about 90 per cent of my female actors. I have met girls who agree to act for as little as Sh10,000, as long as they keep their faces hidden. I don't like that though. How will people enjoy the movie if an actress covers her face? At times, I get older prostitutes who charges as little as Sh15,000," he says.

He claims that the venture is risk free.

"Once I have the actors, we meet and plan. After that, we agree on a location, say a friend's house, and shoot during the day. In less than an hour, the movie would be done and I just go to my office and do the editing," John says.

His office is in a 'respectable' part of town, in a building that also houses a big consultancy firm.

John has eight distributors. The distributors also have their distributors who hawk the CDs in traffic, pubs and estates.

"I don't think there is an estate in Nairobi that doesn't have two or three people selling my productions."