Child trafficking happens when children and/or young people are tricked, coerced, or forced to leave their homes and are moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work, or sold. During the holiday's children become more vulnerable to abuse in ways such as child labor, Female Genital Mutilation, and Rape among other forms of abuse. Children trafficked are mostly subjected to sexual exploitation, forced labor, and forced marriage. The National Council on Children’s Services (NCCS) estimates that around 17,500 Kenyans are trafficked annually for domestic work, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation, of which 50% are likely to be minors.
Research highlights poverty and unemployment as the main leading causes of child trafficking. Trafficked children and young people experience many types of abuse and neglect and are likely to be physically and emotionally abused and may be sexually exploited. Children and young people can be easily manipulated and coerced. Traffickers, therefore, use physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as a form of control. Child traffickers prey on vulnerable children who are susceptible to being forced into the human trade.
Children and young people could be trafficked for either of the following reasons:
● Sexual exploitation
● Benefit fraud
● Forced marriage
● Domestic slavery like cleaning, cooking, and childcare
● Committing crimes like begging, moving, and selling drugs.
The recruiter(s) can be any gender, though most likely men recruit boys and women recruit girls. In most cases, the recruiters, a man or a woman is someone known to the child and/or parents (Family member or a relative, Friend, neighbor or someone the parents(s) or the child trust, Parent, Respectable individual in the society or religious leader ) member of a gang or a stranger, staff member of an employment agency or service provider
How to protect children from child trafficking
Trafficking violates human rights standards as defined by international law. Trafficked children are not only denied education and salary, but they are also physically, psychologically, and sexually exploited and exposed to harmful working conditions. Child trafficking drastically affects the child’s development, it is, therefore, paramount to ensure that as parents or guardians and other relevant stakeholders, children enjoy their rights.
Parents and guardians can protect their children from child trafficking in the following ways:
● Build and maintain a healthy relationship with their children-spend quality time together and check in often. Many victims of trafficking are vulnerable because they are lonely, depressed, and isolated. Healthy parental attachments reduce those vulnerabilities.
● Have conversations on trafficking with the children - have open conversations with the child on the dangers of trafficking and warn them about speaking and accepting free gifts from strangers. As highlighted, the recruiters are usually someone the family or the child knows, therefore teach the child to assertively say no to suspicious requests from family friends and teach them to seek permission from parents or guardians when they want to go visit their relatives.
● Be vigilant about online safety-We have witnessed cases of children who have been groomed and exploited by sexual predators and pedophiles online. As a parent and a guardian take the initiative and have parental control on sites not child-friendly and know what your child is accessing on their digital devices.
As parents or guardians spend holidays with their children, they need to protect them and uphold their rights and report any cases of child trafficking if witnessed.
To report any cases of human trafficking in and/or outside of Kenya, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Call any of the following numbers:
Counter Human Trafficking Trust-East Africa (CHTEA) - +254 701 339 204
Religious Against Human Trafficking (RAHT) - toll-free – 0800 721 361
Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) – toll-free – 0800 722 203
ChildLine – toll fee – 116
Gender-Based Violence - 1195
Police – 999 and 112