Child Trafficking Research in Urban Kenya

Child Trafficking Research in Urban Kenya

According to the 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), child trafficking is prevalent in East Africa, including across Kenya, however there is little concrete data about the scale and causes of the practice. In order to investigate further, Terre des Hommes Netherlands – region East Africa commissioned Integrity in March 2014 to conduct a rapid assessment of child trafficking in two of Nairobi’s informal settlements, Mukuru and Mathare. The research was qualitative and consisted of key informant interviews and focus group discussions with community members and Elders, NGO workers, teachers, police and local government representatives.

The rapid assessment revealed that there are several cases of children being trafficked both to and from Mathare and Mukuru. While it is clear that migration of children into the settlements for economic reasons is relatively commonplace, substantiated information regarding the number of children trafficked is not available. The study did find, however, that the majority of children trafficked in these areas are forced into two primary forms of exploitation: domestic labour and sex work. More generally, child labour appears prevalent in both areas, with children also being used for bartending, chang’aa brewing, scrap metal collection, street begging and petty crime. Trafficking targets children of all ages, with girls identified as the most vulnerable group.

Relatives were cited as the most prominent actors involved in child trafficking. This is linked to another finding of the research, that the level of awareness on what constitutes trafficking and exploitation is low. This has contributed to a lack of reporting of child trafficking cases and few government initiatives to tackle the issue.

Based on these preliminary findings, Integrity’s recommendations to inform future Terre des Hommes Netherlands programming on child trafficking include:

• Training and awareness creation on the illegality of child trafficking;
• Economic empowerment for caregivers and parents;
• Educational support for children, especially those who drop out of school; and
• Rehabilitation and counselling support to victims of trafficking.

A full copy of the report is available here.

Terre des Hommes

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