Viewers cringe as 'grannies' prey on Gambian men in Ch4 documentary

Sex on the beach viewers cringe as love-hungry ‘grannies’ head to Gambia to have ‘a different man every night’ in eye-popping Ch4 documentary

  • Hour-long documentary explored country’s reputation as a sex tourism hot spot
  • Film featured Gambian man, 32, who had married a 68-year-old Belgian woman 
  • Ch4 film made viewers cringe with some saying it was ‘uncomfortable’ to watch

An eye-opening documentary into female sex tourism in the Gambia left viewers cringing last night.

Sex on the Beach is an hour-long documentary which sees Channel 4 Dispatches reporter Seyi Rhodes travel to the Gambia to investigate the country’s reputation as a destination for British sex tourists.

In the documentary, which aired on Channel 4 last night, a woman tells Seyi the country is ‘paradise’ because ‘you can have a different man every night’.

The bars are full of white women in search of sun, sea and sex with younger Gambian men and the programmes asks whether these relationships can ever be genuine given the gap in race, age and wealth. 

Sex on the beach viewers were left cringing as Ch4 documentary explores how British ‘grannies’ prey on Gambian men for some holiday romance in eye-opening programme

The documentary looks at the scale of female sex tourism in the Gambia as older European women travel to the country in search of sun, sea and sex with younger black men

Some viewers described it as ‘uncomfortable’ and were left questioning who was exploiting who during the documentary which aired on Channel 4’s Dispatches programme last night

Seyi speaks to 32-year-old Alka, a local man who has had a string of relationships with older European women.

Alka says that there are often what he calls ‘holidaymakers’ who come to have sex with younger Gambian men then leave.

He added: ‘It really hurts me. I don’t like it. I am looking for a good relationship.’

Alka is now married to Francoise, a 68-year-old Belgian woman, although he initially claimed she was in her 80s.

Francoise sent her Gambian love interest the equivalent of £54,000 although he says he never asked for any money.

In exchange, he says he gives her ‘happiness’ and Francoise says he makes her feel like a ‘new-born baby’ with a second chance at life. 

Alka, a 32-year-old Gambian man has married 68-year-old Belgian woman Francoise after the pair met while she was on holiday in the country and has since given him £54,000

The documentary left viewers cringing as the issue was explored with many describing it as ‘uncomfortable’. 

One viewer tweeted: ‘Sex on the Beach #channel4 is uncomfortable viewing, not dissimilar to other docs I’ve watched on sex tourism in Thailand – Western men coming over to find Thai brides (Louis Theroux did one?)

‘Seen this when I’ve travelled too. Where there’s a market both sides it seems to happen.’

The programme sparked debate among viewers about which party was being exploited.

One woman said: ‘It’s a two way scratch my back and I scratch yours sort of relationship & mutual benefit.

‘Upon marrying these grannies, they’ll get visa to the UK for a better life as the granny will keep them as kept men! Sex on the beach.’

Another added: ‘This sex on the beach programme is so disturbing —old white women preying on poor Gambian men for sex , how ugly is that?’ 

The Ch4 documentary left some viewers feeling ‘uncomfortable’ and sparked debate online

One viewer commented that the documentary did not reflect her experience in the country, tweeting: ‘This sex on the beach programme isn’t portraying the Gambian men too well.

‘They were lovely when I went, I was alone the second time and some would talk to me and no pressure, just friendly people who wanted to make others smile.’ 

One user commented: ‘Can’t understand why older women go to Gambia to find a young boyfriend. Just get on dating apps and you’ll be inundated with messages from young guys. Fact.’ 

Another man said: ‘There is no two way about this , these older european women who cannot find anyone interested in them in Europe goes to the Gambia and basically take advantage of the economic situation and used these boys as glorified prostitutes.

‘Yet the British media in particular presents a different picture. If these women really feel being exploited they should easily seek other holiday destinations.’ 

Writing for i News, Seyi Rhodes said you had to ‘dive into peoples’ lives’ to understand the phenomenon without judgement.

He added: ‘Some of the people I met might look like they fit neatly into a box – ‘sex tourist’, ‘scammer’ or ‘victim’ – but once I’d taken the time to understand them I could see that they’re were all works-in-progress.

‘From the woman who got engaged to a man she’d known for three months to the 34-year-old man who says he’s proud to be engaged to an 86-year-old.

‘People don’t always know if they’re looking for love, sex, money or power. In reality they’re all interlinked, and you can only see that by diving into peoples lives and looking – with no judgement.’

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