Kenya launches committee to tackle human trafficking

by Katy Migiro | @katymigiro | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 10 July 2014 16:23 GMT

Under the Jesuit-run Upendo programme, which supports children at risk of abuse or neglect, kids make carrier bags at Upendo premises in the Kangemi slum of Nairobi. Picture April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

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Plan to tackle the significant trafficking of children for sex and domestic work in Kenya

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Kenya set up a committee to coordinate its campaign against human trafficking this week, The Star newspaper reported on Thursday, in line with recommendations made by the U.S. government.

Kenya is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons report.

It placed Kenya on its Tier 2 Watch List for trafficking for a third consecutive year. This means it does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and has not provided evidence of increased efforts to tackle the problem.

“The government made minimal efforts to prevent human trafficking,” the U.S. State Department said in the report. “Law enforcement efforts and government funding remained inadequate in light of Kenya’s significant trafficking problem.”

Children in Kenya are exploited for purposes of work as domestic labourers and in agriculture, fisheries and begging. They are also trafficked for sex work, particularly for tourists on the coast.

In the capital, Nairobi, Indian women are recruited to work in dance clubs where they face debt bondage, which they are forced to pay off by dancing and performing sex acts, the report said.

Kenya passed the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act in 2010 but has not fully implemented it.

“The main function of the Counter Trafficking Advisory Committee will be to advise the government on inter-agency activities to combat trafficking and implement prevention, protection and rehabilitation programmes for trafficked persons,” the newspaper quoted cabinet secretary for labour Kazungu Kambi as saying.

The committee is also expected to develop regulations and guidelines to implement the Act, launch a national plan of action and set up a victim assistance fund.

“It’s great progress made by the state in the fight against human trafficking and The Cradle is pleased to be part of this process,” said Ruth Juliet Gachanja, a lawyer with the child rights organisation The Cradle, who will chair the committee.

“There is a quite a lot of work that is dependent on this committee to be able to actually implement and actualise the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act.”

In 2013, the Kenyan government identified 47 trafficking victims, prosecuted 30 trafficking cases and convicted seven traffickers, the State Department report said.


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