A recently released report by the United States Department of Justice has listed corruption within law enforcement as the cause of the continued increase in human trafficking cases in Kenya, despite some slight gains in fighting it in recent years.
“Corruption in sectors of the government perpetuated traffickers’ ability to obtain fraudulent identity documents from complicit officials, the report says.
In2016 alone, the government reported 530 investigations of potential trafficking cases, 59 of them being forced labor while 28 were sex trafficking.
The report said that traffickers were able to obtain documents from complicit officials through corruption. The report indicates that the government did not carry out any investigations and did not prosecute or convict government employees involved in human trafficking.
In 2015, 153 incidents were reported, all being internal child trafficking victims. According to the report, the state failed to allocate funding for the victim assistance fund despite the increased numbers of human trafficking cases.
“Kenya is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Within the country, children are subjected to forced labor in domestic service, agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending, and begging,” the report says adding that both boys and girls are exploited in commercial sex throughout Kenya, including in sex tourism in Nairobi, Kisumu, and on the coast, particularly in informal settlements.
“At times, their exploitation is facilitated by family members,” the report says.
“Kenyans voluntarily migrate to Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East —particularly Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and Oman—in search of employment, where at times they are exploited in domestic servitude, massage parlors and brothels, or forced manual labor,” the report reads.
“Children from East Africa and South Sudan are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in Kenya. Domestic workers from Uganda, herders from Ethiopia, and others from Somalia, South Sudan, and Burundi are subjected to forced labor in Kenya,” says the report, adding that trucks transporting goods from Kenya to Somalia returned to Kenya with girls and women subsequently exploited in brothels in Nairobi or Mombasa.