The continent of Africa is approaching a tipping point of mass pornography exposure and its public health consequences. The increase of Internet-connected technology in African countries by multinational corporations, school programs, and African entrepreneurial or governmental progress, brings many useful improvements. But unfortunately it also brings with it hardcore online pornography.

While data on pornography exposure rates in Africa is limited, the phenomenon of pornography exposure and consumption continues to be widespread across the globe. This is largely due to the growing presence of technology that facilitates and normalizes online pornography.

Around the world, pornography is linked to young people losing study time and motivation, experiencing neurological harms, becoming sexually violent or aggressive, being groomed to re-enact pornography in coercive relationships or by predators, having multiple sex partners, acquiring STIs and sexual dysfunctions, and more.[2] Evidence is abundant that pornography portrays sexual violence as enticing and pleasurable as a 2018 study of online pornography found a significant trend of eroticized violence against women.[3] Females of all ages in this study were more likely to display pleasure in videos where they experienced violence and aggression than videos where they did not.[4] A meta-analysis of 46 studies reported that the effects of pornography use are “clear and consistent,” and puts one at increased risk for committing sexual offenses and accepting rape myths—such as that women enjoy rape.[5]

More research is needed in the African context, but initial reports are consistent with these globally observed harms. A survey of 381 students from Nigerian Universities found that more than 50% of students indicated that their sexual behaviors today are a product of their exposure to internet pornography.[6] An area of grave concern for Africa is the aberrant behavior that children and young people exhibit when they are exposed to pornography such as the increased self-reported hypothetical likelihood of engaging in sex with minors.[7] In Ethiopia,  it is reported that some young men turn to using to Viagra as a stimulant to impress their partners as they were not sexually aroused in a healthy relationship.[8]  A meta-analysis of 31 studies in Ethiopia found that people who reported viewing pornography were more likely to engage in risky sexual practices.[9] 50% of surveyed young people in Uganda “reported being exposed to pornography by the age of 12.” [10]

These concerns must not be overlooked.

[1] EndSexualExploitation.org/publichealth, “Pornography and Public Health Research Summary” (September 3, 2017).

[2] EndSexualExploitation.org/publichealth, “Pornography and Public Health Research Summary” (September 3, 2017).

[3] Eran Shor, “Age, Aggression, and Pleasure in Popular Online Pornographic Videos,” Violence Against Women, 2018: 1‒19, doi: 10.1177/1077801218804101. Note: videos including more than two participants were not included in the analysis.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Elizabeth Paolucci-Oddone, Mark Genuis, and Claudio Violato, “A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography,” The Changing Family and Child Development, Ashgate Publishing, 2000, 48–59

[6] Clementina O. Okafor, Elijah O. Efetobor, and Andrew C. Apeh, “An Evaluation of the Correlation between Pornography and the Sexual Behavior of Nigerian Undergraduates,” Communications Panorama 1, no. 1 (Sept–Oct 2015): 1–14.

[7] Kristinn Henga, Svein Mossige, and Lars Wichstrom, “Older Adolescents’ Positive Attitudes toward Younger Adolescents as Sexual Partners,” Adolescence 39, no. 156, (2004): 627–651.

[8] Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research , University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam , The Netherlands. A matter of sexual confidence: young men’s non-prescription use of Viagra in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Cult Health Sex. 2016. 18(5):495-508. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2015.1101489

[9] Achenef Muche, Getachew Kassa, Abadi Berhe, et al., “Prevalence and Determinants of Risky Sexual Practice in Ethiopia: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Reproductive Health 14 (2017):14‒113, doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0376-4.

[10] Cheney, K., Kamusiime, A., & Mekonnen Yimer, A.Feeling ‘Blue’: Pornography and Sex Education in Eastern Africa. IDS Bulletin, (2017): 48(1), 81-97.

Our Strategy


The International Centre on Sexual Exploitation (ICOSE) functions as a facilitator and supportive force for the African coalition leaders. All project activities are led at the discretion of these leaders based on their strategic regional context.

Project activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Local educational events in schools, churches, theaters, government venues, and more.
  • Policy meetings with government officials and other cultural influencers.
  • Media campaigns, both online and through traditional media.
  • Private corporation advocacy, calling on global businesses to help prevent sexual exploitation in African nations.
  • Regular taskforce meetings to strategically grow and expand the movement.
  • Leveraging and customizing ICOSE educational materials, including powerpoints, social media, flyers, and more in order to meet the needs in the context of different African countries.