‘sex-pat’ was a term i thought i had invented. having said that, i also thought i invented the word ‘dildo’ when i was 7 or 8 and decided that was a good insult for my brother.
it turns out, sex-pat, is a simple portmanteau for the words ‘sex’ and ‘expatriate’. urban dictionary has it in their records and it is not something i came up with.
as an aside, i read an article recently [i wish i could remember who wrote it or what publication it was in to reference here… but] which argued that the word expatriate was only reserved for white folk and is derived from colonial/imperial times. i have never thought of it that way, i thought it referred to anyone not living in their home country and having moved for work or some other legit reason. when i researched the word, it turned out that it was, in fact, a very racist way of looking at people living in other countries. while i disagree with the exclusive definition, it could be what makes the phrase sex-pat so funny in one way and frightening in another.
now, i’ve lived in nigeria for nearly 4 years. i have been to ghana 3 times but have not managed to see any other african countries [apart from in airports] just yet. i have met a number of ex-pats from a number of countries including: scotland, england, wales, northern ireland, new zealand, australia , the phillipines, russia, india, ghana, south africa, cameroon and probably others i cannot at the moment think of.
having met so many people from elsewhere while working in nigeria, i have encountered a number of, men in particular, that i have jokingly referred to as sex-pats. the joke is reserved for men that simply enjoy the company of local women. now the reason this has been funny to me is that in my brain i figure the interactions or transactions between both parties are consentual. we’re talking mostly old foreign men with stunning local women. i figure if everyone is in agreement, it is all a bit of harmless fun. another joke of mine that relates, has been that nigeria is a country where men can be themselves.
there is a darker side, however. you can often hear in the news about ex-pats exploiting locals, including children. this is incredibly disturbing and upsetting. i suppose it can simply come from using a difference in laws to one’s advantage.
in 2009 when i went to costa rica on holiday with a couple of pals, i remember seeing large displays in the san jose airport which stated something like ‘do not have sex with our minors’. the displays included jail sentence and fine statistics. i remember thinking it must be a serious problem in the country in order to necessitate such visuals. i was naive to these kinds of things, you see.
i have read plenty about how human trafficking is the new slavery and it is unbelievable how upsetting thinking about such a topic can be. i worry about it in places like nigeria where child marriage still exists. i don’t believe you can call it marriage because that word implies consent.
another example that comes to mind, involves people that move to foreign lands after having been accused of or having committed some heinous offence in their homeland. said foreign land supplies the person with a place which will allow them to continue on with similar behaviour.
i have become something of a cbc’s fifth estate junkie. i watched an episode yesterday which was about an ex-pat in liberia that would be devastated to be named a sex-pat. it is worth a watch at the link below and outlines david waines’ case. if you see the child he was meant to have fathered, it will be clear to you that he was not the perpetrator in this case. i’m no geneticist, but i do believe that mixed-race children will not end up looking like young west africans through and through.
the other recent case in the news that comes to mind is neil bantleman. he has just been sentenced to 10 years in an indonesian prison for sex crimes. he is complaining that the canadian government is not doing anything to help him. check out the cbc article here:
as an ex-pat myself, i find these many faceted issues fascinating and worth discussing.