The government has expressed concern over the rise of human trafficking cases in the country.
The Principal Secretary in the State Department for Social Protection (PS), Nelson Marwa said at the World Human Trafficking Day celebrations in Busia Agricultural Training Centre on Tuesday, several reports have described Kenya as a country of origin, transit and destination of human trafficking.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Secretary in the Ministry, Ngei Mutinda, the PS said that according to National Crime Research Centre (NCRC) by Kenya 2014, forms of trafficking prevalent in Kenya are forced labour and sex related with 44 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.
Children, men and women who constitute at 33 per cent, 26 per cent and 41per cent respectively, with women and children being the most affected by human trafficking.
The research further according to Marwa states that victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, organ removal, forced beggars, forced criminal activities and recently removal of skin and online pornography.
Marwa disclosed that the major push factors for human trafficking are poverty, lack of economic opportunities, unemployment, underemployment, low rates of education and illiteracy.
He however, noted that the government has put in place the National Safety Net Programmes to improve and enhance social protection delivery in the country.
Under the programme there is the cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children, persons with disabilities cash transfer, older persons cash transfer and hunger safety net programme which are all geared towards reducing poverty and vulnerability to economic, social and natural stresses.
Marwa put on notice those engaged in human trafficking activities, saying the vice is a gross violation of human rights urging all stakeholders to join hands and ensure the rights of victims are protected.
The Busia County Executive Committee Member for Culture, Youth, Sports, Gender, Children and Social Services, John Mwami said the county is a victim of human trafficking due to colonial boundaries which are porous.
He said there is need to devolve human trafficking sensitization activities so that teachers, chiefs and their assistants can be involved in identifying and educating residents against the vice.
Mwami said victims easily fall into traps of traffickers because they are promised greener pastures but what they get is forced labour, sexual exploitation and even forced marriages.
“It’s important to intensify awareness campaigns so that people can easily identify traffickers and report them. Let Busia residents be each other’s keeper-not only Kenyans but also people from other nations who are trafficked within and outside the country,” he added.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait