School children flock beaches to beg from tourists at Watamu

It’s a worrying situation in Watamu Kilifi County where primary school children are reportedly flocking the beaches to beg from tourists. The children are said to be begging for food claiming they have nothing to eat in their homes

School children in jacaranda area of Watamu in Kilifi County have begun a new trend of flocking the beaches to beg from tourists.

The children who are reportedly from local schools in Jacaranda, Mbaraka Chembe and Jimba Gede, are said to be asking for maize flour and cash for lunch, claiming there is no food at home due to high poverty levels.

The children have mastered some words of the Italian language, which they use for begging and at times get good money. Concerned about tourism, investors within the jacaranda area who have witnessed the new bad trends are worried, as this could trigger child sex tourism

Speaking at the jacaranda ACK St Marks Church, general manager Daniele Tirito said the issue requires urgent attention of the community, saying the children should be engaged at home, so as to prevent them from going to the beaches, Tirito said the problem could be risky for the children and called on the community and the church to intervene.

Esther Jumwa a business lady who operates opposite the Jacaranda Beach Resort expressed her concern saying that parents have abandoned their duties of bringing up their children in the right way. Other speakers said tourism police officers are to blame for the menace.

Last month Kilifi county executive member for tourism and trade Nahida Athman, told all beach operators that they had up to end of this month to get a license or else they will not be allowed to operate at the beaches.