The oil boom and sex tourism in Ghana

A common reality for those in Africa, Asia, South America and many other regions of the so-called developing world is sex tourism. Recently, I met a man from Texas. He is in Ghana working in the oil industry.

He is approximately fifty-five to sixty years old, and spoke fondly of his family back in Texas, which includes a wife and several adult children. Whilst speaking of his wife, he added that he thought it was perfectly fine for him to have girlfriends whilst in Ghana.

He said that these girls were not prostitutes (although he pays them for their time) and he loved going to places where “they haven’t seen a white man before”. This entire conversation made me extremely uncomfortable, angry and disgusted. It angers me to think of these white men (many of whom have wives and children) who come to so-called developing nations and actively seek “ethnic” women they can spend the night with. The underlying perception here is that these women are mere objects for these men to carry out their sexual fantasies.

Many women end up submitting to these white men, as there is a perception that these men have money (and I’m sure many of these men exaggerate what their income is). Realistically, many of these girls are impoverished and this white man is seen as a means to escape poverty.

There are racist, classist and sexist elements that underline the entire sex tourism industry. We, as coloured women descending from “Third World” nations, are seen as objects for white men from “First World” nations.

This idea takes me back to my visit to Cape Coast Castle a few weeks ago. This castle was used by the Dutch and the Portuguese to house Africans before they were forced on ships and sent off into slavery.

During these times, the Governor would pick an African woman and she would be raped. She was also raped by the soldiers on her way to and from the Governors room.

I suppose you can argue that women these days are not necessarily being raped by these white men; however, I wonder: How many women would sleep with these men if they weren’t impoverished? It seems as though the ideology associated with colonialism is still very much present, yet it manifests in modern forms, such as sex tourism.

Credit: Rheena Shedaan
Source: Public Agenda

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