Survey links NGOs to child trafficking

Thursday, December 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Some of Nairobi’s street children outside a shack. Photo/PD/File

Kenyan authorities have accused members of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) of aiding human trafficking and migration of street children in the country. 

The accusation was made by the National Steering Committee on the development of policy on rehabilitation of street families, which claim there has been an influx of foreigners on Kenyan streets. 

Surveys had flagged a number of NGOs alleged to be part of a network ferrying street families across the country.

A member of the Board of Trustees, Wario Yattani, said even after being arrested, arraigned and charged and repatriated, the foreigners often found their way back to the streets for lack of legal framework and facilities that can allow for their detention.

Speaking in Nakuru during a public participation on the draft policy yesterday, Yattani expressed concern that some charitable organisations and rescue centers were exploiting lack of a legal framework to engage in human trafficking. 

Yattani said although the government and humanitarian agencies have put in place measures to end street families menace, their efforts had not borne fruit because they were not backed by legal structures. 

A significant proportion of street families originate from Tanzania and Uganda, consequently, Yattani says they project that following social disruption and economic aftershocks caused by Covid-19 pandemic, the number of street families has increased. 

“Public participation will be conducted in 35 counties. The 2018 census indicates that Kenya has 46,693 street families,” he said.

Collective failure

Further, he observed that some devolved units were dealing with the challenge haphazardly and without regard to basic human rights by rounding up street families before dumping them in forests or ferrying them to their perceived counties of origin. 

“Street families live in deplorable conditions and are subjected to inhumane treatment, sometimes by authorities yet they are entitled to basic human rights.

The menace is a collective failure of Kenyans, which can be remedied by an appropriate law,” he added. 

On his part, committee member Erastus Karani, said war on street families can only be won  if appropriate laws are enacted to deal with foreigners and cartels behind increased numbers of street families who use them to beg for money. 

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