Mombasa is a beautiful Kenyan city that most tourists save for years to visit. It has great natural attractions and admirable culture. However, these two vices are demonising this coastal city;
Mombasa has seen a rise in the number of juveniles involved in deadly crime. There are gangs whose members are minors who kill at the slightest provocation. Wakali Wao and Wakali Kwanza are the notable killer groups taking over Mombasa. Kapenguria Six, Wajukuu wa Bibi, Spanish Sparta, Young Thugs, Born to Kill, Vietnam, Chafu, Memory Gang, Watalia Gang, Crazy Boys, Akili za Usiku and 64 Gang are other young 'murderers'.
Another dark spot in Mombasa is the presence of child prostitution. An assessment report on Human Trafficking Situation in the Coastal Region of Kenya released last year revealed that the local community at the coast is responsible for the thriving of this vice. The report stated that poverty has endangered not only young girls but also boys and employees of entertainment joints.
"Girls in the coastal areas of Kenya are often recruited for jobs in the (Persian) Gulf through hair salons and restaurants, but are subsequently exploited on arrival," says part of the report released during last year's World Day against trafficking in persons.
Earlier, a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report indicated that children in Mombasa and the Coast region at large take part in pornography and prostitution. The findings were backed by a Mombasa-based human rights organisation, Haki Africa.
The two social ills can be witnessed in any city in Kenya. However, the rate at which their prominence is taking root in Mombasa is terrifying. All relevant stakeholders must act now.