Tackling the ever-changing faces of prostitution in Tanzania


By Julius Maricha

Prostitution is one of the oldest businesses that comes in many forms despite the fact that it remains illegal in many countries including Tanzania.

Although efforts have been made to slow down and eliminate the illegal but widespread trade, the indisputable fact is that women, girls and their customers are changing their tactics by boosting the trade.

It now takes a very keen eye to identify a prostitute as many try to beat the arm of the law that has always kept them at bay.

However, not all of the prostitutes have changed their tactics, few of them are yet brave enough to stand by the side of the road waiting for potential clients and run away when there is police patrolling the area. .

Faces of prostitution


Life & Style has discovered that there are different faces of prostitution apart from the commonly known one where prostitutes stay by the wayside in some of these big cities and business centers such as Dar es Salaam.

1. Social networks

Social media platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp groups, Tinder, Telegram groups and many more are currently used to promote the prostitution business, where different active pages upload sexually content articles with a price for customers.

It has become normal for pages with sexual content on social media, especially Instagram, to comment on the pages of personalities in the country such as artists and businessmen with a context to promote illegal trade.

James Arnold (alias), said he was added to a WhatsApp group focused on sexual content by a stranger who claimed to have received his phone number from one of James’s close friends.

The group settings only allowed admins to send messages in which only five of the more than 250 members were female and admins would send their nude photos and videos with instructions on how to meet them, prices to pay per group. advance and the price to pay during the service.

“They all wanted a sum of money between 15,000 and 70,000 Sh but with differences in terms of condition,” he explained.

He added that it is very difficult to get to know them unless you are a customer, as they do everything on their phones until you meet them.

2. Room rental

There is a habit for prostitutes to rent rooms and use them in their business, famous as Vijumba vya wahaya in different places in Dar es Salaam, like Tip-top in Manzese and Mwananyamala.

One of the residents of Tip-top, Elisha Japhet, said that the prostitutes started their lives by renting rooms in the area years ago as normal tenants, but that after a while, indicators Dangerous goods such as the discovery of used condoms near carelessly discarded homes have started to increase.

“They normally use abusive language, which makes it easier to differentiate them from other residents in our area,” he said.

“It is a grievance for us residents because we really fear for the morals of our children as they observe a lot of dirty behavior from an early age. I feel like we live in a cursed place, ”he added.

For his part, another resident, Erick Mussa, explained that the interior environment of rooms used for trade contains contents such as a bed, a stove, pots and boxes of condoms useful for their illegal trade services. .

He went on to say that most of the business’s customers come at night due to the need to remain anonymous with their extracurricular activities.

“Honestly, some of their clients are people that you can’t even imagine would be engaged in this business,” he said.

He added: “I never thought that some wealthy individuals would be part of this culture, but now I know they are fueling this trade.”

3. Auctioneers

A few trusted sources told Life & Style that there are a lot of people on the streets who collaborate with prostitutes by putting them in touch with different clients.

Most auctioneers are between 25 and 35 years old and the illegal business is dominated by men more than women.

They say some auctioneers require prepayment before tying a client to a prostitute, others are paid by prostitutes after bringing clients to them while others are paid by both the client and the prostitute. .

One of the sources said prostitutes took the opportunity to use unemployed youth in the illegal trade to get them customers without going out to bars, clubs or hotels to search them.

“If you are not strong enough, you will accept; they really know how to persuade and deceive men so that they can get paid, ”he said

He pointed out that all they want is money and they never care about your health.

In addition, he said prostitution auctioneers pave the way for prostitution to meet high profile clients such as wealthy men and public figures in secret.

4. Hotels, guest houses and lodges

There are reports of prostitutes reserving rooms in hotels, guesthouses and lodges by agreement with owners or managers to pay under the terms of the illegal trade set.

Others say some hotel, guesthouse and lodge owners plan for prostitutes to pay for a room and give them discounts if their customers spend a lot on food and other services.

Eva Pascal, who was once the lodge worker in Tabata, said it was difficult to recognize a lodge or guesthouse that hides prostitutes unless you are told.

“Some dishonest managers and owners (of guest houses and lodges) keep them (the prostitutes) like other guests,” she explained.

5. Employees and contractors

Rosemary Edward (alias), a resident of Dar es Salaam, said she had a co-worker who was always picked up by different cars every day.

The day she tried to ask questions about her contemplative demeanor, she refused to explain and warned him to stay out of sight and upon investigation, she discovered that her coworker was a prostitute.

“The second time I followed her I made it clear that I knew she was a prostitute and that was when she revealed that she was doing it to raise money to run her supermarket.” , she said.

“I was surprised by her story, but soon after I met three other women in the company who are doing the same,” she added.

How to remedy the change?


The government holds the power to conduct a full investigation to understand in detail the many faces of prostitution and what gives it the power to continue to exist in order to get a solution and end it as it affects the country.

Abilay Pazzi, president of Tupendane Street in Manzese, said at the time that there were prostitutes on his street who collaborated with community police. “I think the local government should organize patrols in their streets to put an end to this dirty business,” he said.


It is necessary to develop a habit of teaching from an early age on the negative impact of illegal businesses, including the prostitution trade, in order to reduce the number of girls and women who engage in this trade as this causes problems such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and more which contribute to the reduction of the national workforce.

Gaudensia Emmanuel is a freelance psychologist and claims that there are many philosophical statements that have proven that human thoughts shape behavior, so what a human does tells a story that prevails in their mind.

“It is never normal for a human being to prioritize anything before him, it is obvious that he is psychologically affected,” said Emmanuel.

Godwin Harrison, an independent psychologist, says Tanzanian society has ignored the causes that lead girls and women to engage in illegal trade, but abuse is a common theme in the lives and backgrounds of many prostitutes where many have been abused in childhood, either physically or sexually or both.

“In the fight to end prostitution, we must stop the abuse that causes most girls to escape and engage in illegal businesses,” Harrison said.


Ms Emmanuel says the government together with the families of prostitutes who had been arrested by the country’s authorities should make an effort to find out exactly what led to their involvement in this illegal trade in order to help her get out of it. .

“We must feel responsible for our daughters who dared to prostitute themselves, we must unite as a country to end this trade,” she said.

Pazzi said the country has lacked the unity needed to get rid of the illegal trade for some time, although it is well known that everyone’s contribution is needed to end the trade.

“Government and citizens must unite to get rid of prostitution; citizens should report those who engage in trade and where to get them and the government should take action to address all citizens’ concerns, ”Pazzi said.

In addition, he said that the media has a lot to do with the issue due to the indisputable fact that it can reach more people, educate them and create a positive attitude among the members of the community.

“If everyone is involved and responsible in this issue, it will surely go down in history in this country,” he added.

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