A word of caution for female tourists visiting Egypt: be careful of the many of the men working in tourist areas in Egypt.
Although the vast majority of Egyptians have a high sense of honor and good conduct, it seems that tourist areas seem to attract a relatively high concentration of people with lax morals, who would exploit tourists in many ways. It can manifest itself as persistent aggressive begging, peddling cheap goods, charging 10X the normal prices for services and goods, and what this article focuses on: exploiting female tourists.
Looking at the bulk of the comments on my notes on compulsory army service in egypt they are mostly from non-Egyptian women who married (or intend to marry) an Egyptian man, and army service has become an obstacle.
So, once you here the word "habibti" (meaning "my love" in Arabic), and before you call him "Habibi", let alone go down the marriage route, read on below for more information.
The exploitation happens in many forms, but is normally centered around one of the following:
Easy and Free Sex
Many tourists come from countries where sex is more freely practiced outside of marriage. Youn g Egyptian men working in tourist areas who
are not married see this as an opportunity, and are met with acceptance from the female tourists.
A source for Money
Many Egyptian men who practice this scam view the "wealthy" tourist as a source of income. They keep asking their "girl friend", "fiance" or "wife" for money for various excuses, just like a professional scammer would play a confidence game on a victim.
An Opporunity for Immigration
Some of those men want to get out of Egypt, and see their marriage as a way to gain residence and citizenship in a Western country. The economy in Egypt has been stagnant for decades, and poverty, lack of opportunity and the high cost of marriage lures some youth to trying these tricks.
Why it works?
There are several factors that work in favor of the Egyptian scammers here.
One factor that helps is that most Egyptian men look desirable to Western women, being of darker complexion than their compatriots. The fact that the foreigners are white blonds work in making the women attractive and desirable for Egyptian men.
Another factor is that the woman is coming to the tourist place to have a good time. It may be a break from stressful work or study, or perhaps a past relationship. This helps blind her to what is happening.
Yet another factor is the cultural differences which also create temporary blindness.
Moreover, those workers being away from their village or city of origin, where they would be observed by their extended family and friends tend to make it easier for them to engage in sexual relationships and scams without being scrutinized by acquaintenaces, and no stigma is attached to these behaviors.
Finally, the scammers have perfected their techniques over the years, and are very skillful at what they do.
Blacklists have emerged on the internet, to warn potential female tourists from known exploiters. These have all the faults of user contributed content on the internet in that they can be innacurate, biased, or even rigged by rivals or pranksters. However, in the absence of any other information, they can be useful, provided they are taken with a good deal of skepticism and research and common sense applied.
Happens everywhere, not only Egypt
Before someone gets the impression that Egypt is a cesspool, and Egyptians are crooks, let me say it is neither.
The problem above is not limited to Egypt by any means. Any country where tourists come in to spend money has its share of exploiters. The above black lists have a Turkish one, and a Tunisian one, and there are lots of stories about French, Italian and Spanish men exploiting women tourists as well.
Of course, there is also the Russian bride fraud targeting well to do men in the West.
So, the problem is universal, although this article focuses on female tourists to Egypt.
There are many non-Egyptian women married to Egyptian men happily, so over-generalizing from the cases mentioned, or from workers at tourist resort is wrong. Chances are you will be happy with an Egyptian as a husband if you met him in a more natural settings, e.g. while studying or working, and getting to meet his family as well.
The "artificial" environment in resorts, being on holiday, and surrounded by some scammers lend itself to the disasters described.
So, beware ...
- Marwa Rakha: Relationship Warning: Do not get involved with Egyptian Men (also here).
- Global Voices: "Beware of Egyptian Men" says Canadian Embassy, also by Marwa Rakha.
- Trailing Grouse: Egyptian men marrying women for money.
- Yahoo Answers: Egyptian Men marrying foreign women to get out from Egypt.
- Sex, Sun, Stupidity and Gigolos.
- Amy Robson: n English girl who keeps falling in false love with Egyptian men (she finally returned to Britain).
- Someone searching on KunstKamera: for Honest Egyptian Boys?
- List if sites on Romance Fraud in German, and other languages.
- A movie documentary in the making on holiday romance, specially Hurghada.
- Female Sex Tourism on Wikipedia, has lots of links to extensive articles. While Turkey is listed as a major destination, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco are listed as "minor destinations".
- An article from a Canadian perspective: Sex tourism in full boom. Jamaica, Barbados, Dominican Republic and the Caribbean are the major destination for Canadian women.