Corruption Kenya drives rise in girl-child trafficking

Gitonga Njeru – WNN Features

Kenyan orphans
Innocent Kenyan girl-child orphans are not receiving proper protection from traffickers because of lack of enforcement of Kenya's child laws. Image: Promise Tangeman / Flickr

An update on this story has been made: January 20, 2012

(WNN) NAIROBI: For almost three years, 39 year old, Jane Ngoyoini, has not seen or heard from her daughter. In 2007, 15 year old, Frieda Ngoyoini, completely vanished during a school girl-scout jamboree program near Chelmsford, Essex, England.

To date no one, including the police, has given her mother, Jane Ngoyoini, any answers or clues to the whereabouts of Frieda. As one of the missing girls that left for a sponsored trip to England, Frieda has never been heard from again and has never returned.

This disturbing special case, which has not reached the larger media, is still unsolved. It has left many questions unanswered. Child trafficking in Kenya is a daily occurrence, but police reports and actions to solve crimes are too many times non-existent.

Allegations involving senior police officers and government officials in connection with possible bribery and cover-up activities with numerous child trafficking cases are now being examined closely in Kenya. In response to an alarming rise in the incidence in the trafficking of Kenyan children to Western Europe, women’s groups are now preparing to take Kenya’s government to court to find out who is culpable in the crimes.

Human trafficking in Kenya is nothing new. The largest number of missing persons inside Kenya is girls. Most are younger than sixteen-years-of-age. Another disturbing portion of trafficked children are new-born babies. Even though mothers have asked for information about their missing children, numerous cases in missing babies continue to go unaddressed and unsolved by Kenyan authorities.

“These are very serious situations and there are cases which the government has been reluctant to solve for many years,” said Mrs. Rukia Subow, National Chairperson for MYWO – the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization, during an April 2011 WNN – Women News Network interview.

MYWO is one of the largest women’s organizations in Kenya that works to improve the quality of life in rural communities. They are especially focused on the women and youth of Kenya.

Warning that MYWO will take imminent legal action against government authorities if any of the cases continue to be ignored, Rukia Subow states her case clearly. “The whereabouts of some girls have never been known till today, several years later,” she outlines.

Under current Kenyan law, a missing person is considered dead if they have been missing for more than seven years. This law puts some missing girls out of the jurisdiction of legal protection after they have been missing the allotted time and declared dead as cases, if any case has been filed, are closed.

In addition to MYWO – Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, numerous other women’s agencies in Kenya are also in the process of executing legal action against Kenyan authorities. The Federation of Women Lawyers, Society for the Advancement of Women Studies and the Single Mother Association of Kenya have initiated actions that highlight Kenya’s court system refusal to handle trafficking cases correctly.

As part of a country-wide consortium, the Widows and Orphans Welfare Society of Kenya and the United Women Muslim Association have also hired attorneys to work on cases covering the growing crisis of child trafficking inside Kenya.

“There are serious allegations we are investigating as a commission that some police officers and government officials have been involved in bribery [in Kenya],” said Florence Jaoko, a chair person with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

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