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However, it wasn’t until we sauntered down the Senegambia Strip that it dawned on me that the offer from several Bumsters to experience ‘The Real Gambia’ might well have had illicit undertones.

It wasn’t the only warning sign – the night before we had giggled like adolescents at the sight of two fellow female hotel guests flanking a good looking local guy all but dragging him back to their room, his feet barely touched the ground in cartoon fashion as they marched.

But is the situation different if the person selling their body is male? I’m sure many of the women involved in The Gambia’s sex tourism justify their actions on the basis that the men get to have sex and get paid for the fun of it, so is there really any harm? Our conversation extended to the waiter, the taxi driver on the way home and a number of locals at our hotel and the answer was consistent amongst us – a resounding yes: it is a problem and there is harm.

Any ‘relationship’ that is born out of need rather than want is exploitative regardless of whether it is a man or woman paying for sex.

As the night unfolded and the dancing increased, paranoia circled.

We were two single white Western women of an age that could no longer be considered our twenties and we fit the profile of Sex Tourists perfectly…save for our complete unwillingness to participate in such a vile form of exploitation.

With paranoia ramping up, I pulled my cardigan closer across my body and stopped making eye contact with the men.

An invitation to dance, an opportunity to meet new friends – usually innocent encounters, but not in The Gambia.

In The Gambia it is middle-aged Western women that are throwing down rolls of Dalasi, the local currency, in exchange for a grapple with the firm bodies of the young Gambian men.

I have not led a sheltered life and my friends would place my behavior closer to sinner than saint.

Consequently there is very little that tends to shock me, but the extreme levels of male prostitution in this country have done exactly that.

I did little research before coming to The Gambia other than to check it had an under 7-hour flight time from the UK and had sunshine in March.

The first example we saw was an obese German girl who looked like she had escaped prison.

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