Stern action called to address trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors in Mombasa
GENEVA, Switzerland, July 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Kenya police have been urged to enforce the anti-trafficking law to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders in Mombasa County following high cases of gender based violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. These were some of key recommendations that emerged at the end of a two day training workshop organized by UNFPA, UNICEF and CRADLE to create awareness among various stakeholders in Mombasa on the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act and the Sexual Offences Act that came into force in 2010.
The stakeholders drawn from the police, NGOs, Ministry of Health, civil society, and Tourism Regulatory Authority, who gathered in Malindi from 24-26th June 2014, decried the alarmingly low number of investigations on the rampant practice of sexual exploitation of children by tourists on the Kenyan coast. They called for the prosecution of government officials suspected of complicity in human trafficking. “We have children as young as 12 years being sexually exploited,” stated Sewe Malamba of USAID APHIA Plus, who attended the workshop. It has been reported that vehicles transporting 'khat' (aka Miraa) to Somalia return to Kenya with young Somali girls “who often end up in brothels in Nairobi's Eastleigh and Mombasa”.
“The poverty in Mombasa and the rest of the country serves as the right incubator for thriving child sex tourism,” said Esther E. Kasiva, a counsellor from Pahali Pa Usalama. “Children from poor family backgrounds are easy targets, with the promise for better life.”
The stakeholders also called for specialized training for law enforcement officials with a main focus on how to identify and respond to trafficking crimes. Malindi was the ideal location to tackle the issue, as the coastline of Kenya is known as the hub of trafficking. There has been a high number of cases on gender-based violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Kenya has been identified as a country of origin, transit, and destination for victims of human trafficking. In June 2012, the United States Department of State placed Kenya on the Tier 2 Watch List in its Annual Trafficking in Persons Report as it did not show evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking. The report reflects uncoordinated government efforts, which create an environment conducive to trafficking.