Beware, fuelling human trade could land you in jail


Last year, a local television station unearthed a syndicate where unscrupulous individuals were taking advantage of a group of disabled children.


They were using them to beg for cash from unsuspecting Kenyans on Nairobi’s city streets.

The children were, at the end of each day, picked up driven home, with their “masters” laughing all the way to the bank.

But this did not last long as the long arm of the law finally caught up with them.

Whereas many considered this as child labour, the fact that they were being exploited qualifies it as a form of human trafficking.

So beware — the next time you recruit, transport, transfer, harbour or receive another person for the purposes of exploitation by means of force, abduction, fraud, deception, and abuse of power you are actually engaging in the illegal trade.

According to the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act, 2010, a person engaged in the illegal trade is liable for imprisonment for a term of not less than 30 years or a fine of not less than Sh30 million.

“You may not want to give money to the woman you see at the corner of your street with 10 children of the same age because you are indeed fuelling human trafficking,” says Ms Noela Barasa, an official from the International Organisation for Migration.

Quoting the law, Ms Barasa, the organisation’s Counter Trafficking Awareness Raising and Legal Assistant, says anyone who finances, controls, aids or abets the offence are also liable for prosecution.

Human trafficking refers to the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, or a modern-day form of slavery.

According to the US State Department 2010 Report on Human Trafficking, Kenya is considered a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking.

Most of them end up either in forced labour or prostitution. “In the country, Kenyan children are forced into domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation — including involvement in the coastal sex tourism industry — and forced labour in agriculture including on flower plantations, fishing, cattle herding, street vending, and bars,” reads the report.

“Traffickers — who gain poor families’ trust through familial, tribal, or religious ties — falsely offer to raise and educate children in towns, or to obtain for women lucrative employment,” it adds.

The report says Kenyans voluntarily migrate to the Middle East, other East African nations, and Europe in search of employment, where they are exploited in domestic servitude, massage parlours and brothels, and forced manual labour, including in the construction industry.

Mrs Alice Kimani, IOM’s Counter Trafficking Programme Officer is glad with the seriousness by which the government is now treating the issue.

“Things are different now as compared to how it was five years ago,” she told the Nation in an interview.

She, however, requests the Gender ministry to speed up creation of an advisory committee, which will help find solutions to the problem.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Preeti
    May 30, 2011 @ 06:37:01

    After reading this articles it reminds me about a documentary – “Slavery: A Global Investigation” which explores what exactly slavery is. Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Most become slaves because of debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations. Human trafficking is primarily for prostituting women and children into sex industries. Slavery is officially banned internationally by all countries, yet despite this, in the world today there are more slaves now than ever before. In the 400 years of the slave trade, around 13 million people were shipped from Africa.

    To watch please visit –



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