Children voices in Human Trafficking.

Every year, the world commemorates World Day Against Human Trafficking (WDAHT). This day is set aside to raise awareness about human trafficking and to promote and protect the rights of trafficking victims. We can specify trafficking in three elements:  the act, the means and the purpose. What is done, how it’s done and why it’s done.

Traffickers deceive, coerce, threaten, abuse power and use force — the means and methods — to recruit, move, receive, shelter and maintain control of their victims, for the express purpose of exploiting them.

Exploitation includes, but is not limited to, the prostitution of others for sex, forced Labor or services, slavery or similar practices, servitude, or the removal of organs. Sex trafficking and forced Labor are the most notorious types of trafficking, but trafficking has other forms as well. Victims are also trafficked and exploited for benefit, fraud, as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, in pornography production and for organ removal. These other forms of trafficking are under-reported, do not receive as much public attention and contribute to the widely-held perception "trafficking doesn’t happen where I live."

Sadly, human trafficking is a global crisis. Trafficking in persons affects nearly every country in the world; no country is immune. The victims of trafficking are building our homes, cleaning our houses, processing our food and making our clothes. They are in our lives.

Amidst all this, sometimes children are forgotten. Child trafficking has become rampant and is not talked about most of the time. Most of these children are trafficked and exploited for begging, cheap labor, transporting of illegal merchandise, for pornography or forced child marriages.

In most cases, the perpetrators are well known by the guardians/parents/families of the children. The traffickers mostly approach families who are poor, are struggling financially to support their children. They convince the parents to give them their children, promising they will take them to school and give them a good life. Sadly, once the kids have been taken way, they are mistreated instead by the perpetrators for child labor, sexual abuse, prostitution among others.

By the virtue of the fact that the victims are children, they cannot give consent to anything and are therefore vulnerable to abuse. They are also naïve to report any of these incidents or they don’t even know where to report these cases because they are far away from home. Sometimes they are afraid of reporting the cases because this would mean thorough punishment which takes different forms such as thorough beating, starvation and harsh traumatizing treatments by the perpetrators.

The WDAHT, 2023 was commemorated on July 28th with theme; “Reach out to every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind”. CHTEA in partnership with Forum for Women, Candle of Hope Organization, Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat and the Nairobi County Children Services’ department convened a stakeholder County forum at the Kamukunji Sub-County on 21st July 2023 at the California Digital Center, Eastleigh. This was a build-up activity to highlight the issue of child trafficking. The project aimed at bringing together migrants, victims of trafficking and the government agencies and non-state stakeholders to provide a platform to share their experiences, challenges and way forward in building a lasting solution for them.

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