‘Sexploitation’ or sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse. When a student or young person is sexually exploited they are given things like gifts (e.g sanitary pads, airtime, mobile phones, pocket money), fees, drugs, money, or promised good grades, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Students and young people are often tricked into believing they’re in a loving and consensual relationship. They trust their abuser and do not understand that they are being exploited

What is consensual relationship? According to Kenyan law, the age of consent is 18 years. Since children are defined as those under the age of 18, they are not able to give consent. Therefore, a consensual relationship is only legally possible for people who are above 18 years. Anyone seeking a sexual relationship or getting sexual gratification with students is sexually exploiting and abusing them. 

What is consent? 

‘Giving consent’ means actively and voluntarily agreeing to engage in sexual activity. The opposite of this, where there is no consent, is RAPE. 

Straight Talk and Aunty Jane held an editorial board meeting with students drawn from various schools in Nairobi, Homa Bay and Kakamega counties to discuss sexual exploitation and this what they had to say. 

According to Angela ‘sexploitation’ is having sexual intercourse for wrong purposes. She reiterated that no Sugarpapa (Sugar Daddy) has good intentions. 

“It should not just be about gifts such as your school fees, what about your physical health and well-being?”, she wonders and advises that it’s better to die clean and poor rather than rich and dirty. 

For Susan Jacinta Akinyi, ‘sexploitation’ is harassment where young people are involved or are engaging in early sex so that they can get money from old men”. Miksi Mohammed chips in and stresses that sex is an act for mature and responsible  adults. As for Gladness Mumbua, being sexually harassed by family, friends or teachers is ‘sexploitation’. “This happens when you are either raped or shown pornographic material to make you have the urge to have sex, in exchange for money or favours”. 

To Maureen Njeri’s understanding, sexual exploitation can either be emotional or physical abuse resulting in one being forced to participate in activities that are sexual.