An Assessment Of The Nature And Character Of Child Trafficking In Kenya: A Case Study In Mombasa County
Trafficking in persons is considered globally a new form of modern-day slavery where victims are lured into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery for profit and gain of traffickers. According to the US Department of State Report of 2006, it is believed that human trafficking generates more than $9.5 billion annually for internationally organized crime which is ranked second to trafficking in weapons. The same report further revealed that Kenyan children were trafficked within the country for domestic servitude, forced labor in agriculture, cattle herding, and commercial sexual exploitation. The objective of the study was to assess the extent and effect of child trafficking in Mombasa. The methodology applied was descriptive in nature where a sample size of 36 children aged between 8-17 years and who had been trafficked and rescued by various organizations were contacted and enrolled for the study. Data on the demographic characteristics, psychological and general wellbeing of the enrolled children was obtained from their interviews as well as those of 14 key informants who included government officers and managers of various rescue centers that took care of trafficked children. The tools used for the collection of data were interview schedules for both children and key informants, interview guide for focus group discussions and a check list of questions for case studies. Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 21 software was used to analyze the data which was then presented in tables, bars graphs, pie charts and histograms with corresponding explanations given. The study findings revealed that Children from economically disadvantaged families and orphans, particularly girls, were found to be at the highest risk of being trafficked. This study also revealed that Mombasa was the main point of destination for trafficked children while western Kenya was the main point of origin. Approximately 32% of trafficked children came from other countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Congo while the rest came from within. Poverty and orphanhood was cited as key indicators in child trafficking. The most common type of employment was casual labor, domestic work, and child prostitution. The children did not receive any payment for the work done, despite numerous promises. In addition, they experienced physical, social, and psychological trauma. Qualitative data revealed that majority of the trafficked children who had been rescued wanted to be re-united with their families. Government structures and Civil Society Organization engaged in counter trafficking in persons were found to provide opportunities for various intervention measures such as prevention, protection, prosecution and reintegration of victims. In conclusion, the study established that, majority of the trafficked children were girls aged between 13 – 17 years and were either orphans or came from poor families and had primary level of education. They were forced to work for long hours and were not paid for work done. Their wellbeing was not put into consideration by the people they were working for. Majority of these children were from Western Kenya. Recommendations from this study are that, the government should equip key stakeholders with necessary skills on how to counter child trafficking. Provide adequate human and financial resources to effectively address child trafficking issues. Prosecution of child traffickers are enhanced, and further studies be carried on child trafficking to determine the trauma caused to children in relation to growth and development.
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