Report flags Kenya as a hotspot for human trafficking


Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A new US report on global human trafficking trends has put Kenya in the list of countries with the worst human trafficking problems in the world.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2020 report says traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Kenya and exploit victims.

“Within the country, traffickers exploit children through forced labour in domestic service, agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending, and begging,” says the report.

It was released on Wednesday in Washington at a ceremony attended by US President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The report’s findings say traffickers in Kenya exploit girls and boys in commercial sex, including sex tourism on the Coast, Nairobi and Kisumu, particularly in informal settlements, noting that family members facilitate the exploitation. Traffickers also exploit teenage boys from nomadic tribes into cattle rustling, it said.

Children are also exploited in sex trafficking by people working in khat (miraa) cultivation areas and near gold mines in western Kenya, truck drivers on highways, and fishermen on Lake Victoria.

NGOs reported that internally displaced persons, particularly those who live close to a major highway or local trading centre, are more vulnerable to trafficking than persons in settled communities.

The report says Kenyans are recruited by legal or illegal employment agencies or voluntarily migrate to Europe, Northern Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East — particularly Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, and Oman.

They go to such locations in search of employment but in some cases are exploited in massage parlours and brothels or in forced into manual labour or domestic service.

Nairobi-based labour recruiters maintain networks in Uganda and Ethiopia that hire Rwandan, Ethiopian, and Ugandan workers through fraudulent offers of employment.