MPs support anti-trafficking Bill and condemn the vice

East African Standard Published on 22/06/2010

Tales of how innocent Kenyans are subjected to abuse and suffering in Arab countries dominated debate as The Counter Trafficking in Persons Bill sailed through Seconding Reading in Parliament.

The Bill, which was moved by Nominated MP Millie Odhiambo, received unanimous support from members.

And the MPs demanded that stiffer penalties be meted out on persons engaged in human trafficking to deter would-be proponents from engaging in the vice.

Assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando described those engaged in human trafficking as “devils” who must be put away from society.

“A person who traffics others is a devil and requires maximum penalties,” added the Mukurwe-ini MP.

Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa, who seconded the Motion, said it was sad the country has been treated to depressing tales of Kenyan women suffering in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Wamalwa said the women had confessed of being raped and abused by their employers.

“What has been happening is modern day slavery. We have seen a woman who was abused by her employer narrate her ordeal,” he said.

“There are girls who have been lured into prostitution. There is also a Kenyan who ran a brothel in London,” he added.

Sotik MP Joyce Laboso said lack of stiffer penalties had contributed to trafficking, adding that border control should also be checked.

Laboso noted that child trafficking in the form of sexual exploitation in the tourism industry had become a lucrative business at the coast.

Comprehensive law

Karachuonyo MP James Rege called for investigation on cyber crime, particularly on Facebook, saying the Internet had also been used to lure unsuspecting youth to foreign countries only to be abused.

Gender and Children Affairs Minister Esther Murugi, while supporting the Bill, said Kenya does not have a comprehensive law to address human trafficking and the new move was most welcome. Ms Murugi said parents were also to blame, as they had relaxed in their roles.

“Mr Speaker, we have heard of many cases of girls going to Saudi Arabia only for them to come back in coffins or without their limbs,” she said.

Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama said reports of abuses meted out on Kenyan girls abroad were disturbing.

“We have even seen human trafficking in the country where under age girls are forcefully married off,” he added.

Tourism Assistant minister Cecily Mbarire said it was a sad affair that despite constant warning, hotels and lodges at the coast still entertained child prostitution.

— Reports by Martin Mutua and Alex Ndegwa



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