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Kenya: Pregnant Women Selling Their Unborn Babies for Sh2,000

October 14, 2014 · 



A pregnant woman Photo/File from the Star

Kenya is leading in child trafficking in the region with babies who are days to be born being booked by illegal dealers while others who are days old are sold for as little as Sh2,000, a new study has shown.

A report released by Cradle Children Foundation indicates that the price may change once the baby is delivered and this depends on the race and gender.

“Many pregnant women are reportedly involved in baby trafficking, in which unborn babies are booked and others who are days old are sold by the mother or other individuals,” said Cradle legal officer Prudence Mutiso while releasing the report recently.

The report shows that 41.3 per cent of young girls aged between 10 and 14 are ferried from poor rural areas to urban areas like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kericho for cheap labour, commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

“Most commonly, girls are trafficked to the cities from the northern part of Kenya for the purposes of prostitution and from western Kenya for the purposes of domestic work, because girls from that region are considered to be skilled in cooking and housekeeping,” says the report.

Mutiso said young women and children are commonly lured with false promises of employment, regrettably ending up in the sex industry instead.

The report says that both internal (within borders) and external (outside borders) trafficking are practised in the country. It however said internal trafficking is the most practiced and preferred in Kenya by mothers and other dealers.

“Internal trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation involves bringing children from impoverished rural areas to urban areas,” reads the report in part.

Mutiso said Nairobi is the leading destination of internally trafficked children with 14 out of every 100 girls trafficked finding ready market here. This is attributed to high demand of house girls in the city and commercial sex.

Kericho follows far second as two out of every 100 children landing here. It showed that the large numbers of unmarried tea workers in the town has attracted the demand for young girls.

Mombasa and Malindi comes third with one out of 100 girls landing here. Mutisio said the large number of tourists contributes to this situation. “It is unfortunate to note that women, ‘beach boys’, and sometimes a child’s own parents push children into prostitution in coastal areas to receive payments from tourists,” says the report.

Europe and Middle East countries are the likely destinations of trafficked children with Belgium and Qatar leading the pack.

“Many parents voluntarily migrate their children to other East African nations, South Sudan, Europe, the United States, and the Middle East — particularly Saudi Arabia, but also to Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, and Oman in search of employment, where they are at times exploited in domestic servitude, massage parlors and brothels, or forced manual labour,” says the report.

The report says poverty, loopholes at border points, lack of knowledge on trafficking and its effects and lack of reporting of trafficking cases due to the effects it causes on the victims, such as low self esteem, fear, and stigma, are some factors that facilitate trafficking in the country.

The report says that Kenya’s strategic location in the regions makes it a destination point for child trafficking as it is a source and transit point.

The report says that children living in extreme poverty situations where there is no guarantee of one square meal per day and children who have a history of sexual or physical abuse and those living in a family with history of family or individual substance abuse are at high risk of being trafficked.

“Orphaned children, homeless youth, especially unaccompanied homeless youth, fall squarely within the high-risk profile for trafficking victims. Children who are refugees are also at risk of being trafficked,” report says.

It says that traffickers in Kenya are applying three main strategies of trafficking children: Traffickers are operating bogus recruitment agencies; others kidnap and abduct children while others disseminate advertisements in risk areas giving information on available opportunities for educational or vocational gain.

Despite the high number of the activity, the report showed that the rate of the prosecution of the offenders under the Counter Trafficking in Person’s Act remains “wanting.”

“Out of the over 200 cases reported to the Cradle, only 43 child trafficking case files were opened and even fewer have been successful through the criminal justice process,” Mutisio said. She said lack of knowledge on trafficking by the law enforcement agencies and poor investigation by police are the major causes of low number of prosecution.

“The parents and care givers of most of the children trafficked are likely to hinder investigations and present poor prosecution witnesses,” says the report.

The report says the most successful way of countering trafficking in persons is through securing conviction against the traffickers.

“The process of interviewing the victim, collecting, corroborating evidence and investigating perpetrators is more effective when the victim accesses care and protection from a service provider as early in the process as possible,” says the report.


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