Busia County Commissioner Jacob Narengo has expressed concern over the increasing number of children involved in hawking in Busia town.
Speaking during a Court Users Committee sensitisation meeting about child trafficking in Busia on Friday, Narengo stated that traffickers may take advantage of such children in the streets.
“As members of security team, we need to find out the dragnets traffickers lay out to entice these children,” he said adding that the practice has become a menace especially in the informal settlements in the town.
He pointed out that the most affected areas are Busia, Malaba and other rural set ups adding that security agencies through intelligence-led information should identify who the traffickers are, their networks and how they lure young children.
The Commissioner further noted that a number of parents are no longer interested in the whereabouts of their children.
“Some of these kids are forced to be beggars, you have seen cases in Nairobi where children are ferried to some places to practice begging and picked later in the evening,” he said adding that some of the children are driven to engage in criminal activities.
Narengo argued that traffickers are taking advantage of poverty especially along the border line adding that family feuds was another contributing factor to street families.
“As a County we have a serious challenge of defilement cases especially in Butula Sub County,” he said adding that it was surprising that the elderly men were taking advantage of young girls.
He called upon law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators of such acts are arrested and taken to court.
The adminstrator advised the County Director of Children Services to come up with a Rapid Results Initiative exercise with a view to sensitise the locals about the vices.
“Let’s make use of the available forum to sensitise the public about this monster called child trafficking,” he said.
Busia County Children’s Coordinator Esther Wasige said that her department was working closely with the courts and the health sector to ensure that perpetrators go through the legal process.
“We also rescue affected children and ensure that they are taken care of within the child protection unit,” she said.
Wasige pointed out that the County had only one child protection unit but expressed confidence that through collaboration with partners, all the seven Sub Counties will be able to have such facilities.
Busia Principal Magistrate Samson Temu urged police officers to hasten hearing of children cases so that witnesses do not become discouraged.
“Whoever is dealing with such cases should come with statements so that we supply them to the accused for faster prosecution,” he said.
Temu promised to re-introduce mobile courts in Teso South and other far-flung areas with a view to improve dispensing of justice to the locals.
The forum brought together security officers, National government Administration Officers, Judiciary officers and other relevant line ministries to deliberate on children issues and child trafficking.
By Salome Alwanda