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Govt launches probe on child abuse and teenage pregnancies

The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Labour and Social Protection, Eng. Simon Chelugui handing over several boxes of facemasks produced by the Nationa Industrial Training Authority (NITA) to Kisumu County Commissioner, Susan Waweru at NITA, Kisumu.

The government has launched investigations into rising cases of teenage pregnancies and child abuse in the country.

This follows a sudden surge in the number of reported teenage pregnancies after schools were closed to avert spread of coronavirus.

The Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui said a multi-agency team comprising of the Children’s department, Ministry of Interior and Directorate of Criminal Investigations has been constituted to investigate the cases and bring perpetrators to book.

The team, he added was also investigating cases of online child abuse where teachers offering online classes have been accused of exposing children to illicit content.

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“We have received reports of children being abused on ongoing zoom classes. We are working closely with the DCI to arrest the culprits,” he said.

Chelugui said the government was concerned with the rising number of child abuse and molestation cases adding that the children’s act and other existing laws shall be invoked to punish the perpetrators.

Speaking at the National Industrial Training Institute (NITA) in Kisumu on Thursday, the CS said his ministry has rolled out programs to cushion Kenyans against the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

He pointed out training and re-skilling of workers to equip them with necessary skills to secure jobs within the country and abroad.

The program being carried out by NITA targets to assist Kenyans who are jobless and thousands who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kenya, he said produces 1.2 graduates every year but only 800, 000 are absorbed in the job market locally adding that through this program, the remaining 400,000 shall be supported to secure jobs abroad.

Kenya, he disclosed has entered into bilateral agreements with Middle East countries where over 30, 000 Kenyans are working to ensure their safety.

“I have had meetings with five ambassadors from the gulf region and after the corona virus pandemic we shall be moving to these countries to cement the relationship,” he said.

The CS said so far four million Kenyans are working abroad adding that the re-skilling program shall see more Kenyans secure opportunities outside the country.

On Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), the CS said the ministry has set up a committee to establish the number of workers affected due to the corona virus pandemic.

Over 300, 000 SME’s, he said have written to the ministry to notify on the intended laying off of workers adding that the ministry was engaging them to see how best they can retain the workers.

“We are currently processing the data and soon the affected workers shall benefit from the COVID-19 relief fund as announced by the president.

The ministry of labour, he added was engaging SME’s to negotiate with workers to work from home or take pay cuts to ensure that they are able to sustain themselves.

The CS lauded NITA for moving with speed to produce face masks and non-contact hand washing stands to aide in the fight against COVID-19.

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