The African network for the prevention and protection against child Abuse and Neglect-ANPPCAN is calling for concerted efforts to curb human trafficking in the country.
A baseline survey conducted by ANPPCAN indicates that four counties among them Busia, Moyale and Mandera have been marked as hotspot areas and domestic routes for child trafficking in the country.
Busia County is reported to have illicit brew dens and entertainment joints targeting and exploiting Ugandan girls sexually. New born babies are also a target of child traffickers with numerous cases of missing babies going unresolved by authorities.
A 2004 case study of Pumwani maternity hospital in Nairobi showcased the theft of over twenty newborn babies who mysteriously disappeared from the hospital and found that 18 of those babies were being claimed by adults who did not have matching DNA.
The report further says that new-born babies whose mothers’ suffer from extreme poverty have granted consent to have their babies trafficked from maternity hospitals. Others have been trafficked immediately after birth or after the death of their mothers.
“The media has failed to give prominence to most of the human trafficking cases thus contributing to unreported instances in this illegal trade”, Chris Wambala, a consultant and expert in matters of child trafficking says.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 children are trafficked every year in Kenya with girls especially 16 year olds being targeted. These girls are linked to sexual exploitation and child sex tourism in the coastal towns of Mombasa, Malindi, Kwale and others. Further studies have indicated that most people are trafficked from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea with Mandera, Moyale and Nairobi counties being the transit corridors for the human trafficking trade.
ANPPCAN says most of the children’s victims of trafficking end up in Southern Sudan, Libya and Europe via Mandera County. The study also shows that the number of trafficked girls from Garissa and Somalia into Nairobi weekly stands at 50.
Under the international law, Child trafficking is a crime involving the movement of children for the purposes of their exploitation.
A Global Report on Trafficking in Persons launched in 2018 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says globally almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa).
It is against this background that African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect-ANPPCAN has come up with a project christened ‘Building the Foundation for Child Trafficking free zones in Rural and urban Kenya’, this will run until 2020 to sensitize the masses on the rampant child trafficking activities.
“Law enforcers must be trained and sensitized on the law on human trafficking to have an in-depth understanding which can help in curbing the rising numbers of people being trafficked every day in the country”, this is according to ANPPCAN programs manager Evan Munga.
The organization continues to say that there should be enough budgetary allocation that can help in coming up with enough children’s’ departments in the affected counties to reach out to the little ones at the grassroots level.