The government has swung into action following the recently aired BBC documentary, ‘The Baby Stealers’.
The BBC’s Africa Eye documentary exposed an underground child trafficking ring with deep roots in Kenya
Labor and Social Services Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said a multi-agency team has been established to probe the child trafficking syndicate and unearth the networks behind the business.
“Following this expose, a team of officers and experts from the relevant government agencies has been constituted to exhaustively investigate and take the necessary action. As the Government of Kenya, we do not condone child trafficking and we will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this issue,” CS Chelugui said on Tuesday.
He urged members of the public to report any cases of child trafficking to Child Helpline 116, and the police.
“The Government of Kenya is committed to the safety and security of all children and would like to inform Kenyans that if for one reason or the other, they may not have children of their own, that there are legal procedures for adopting,” Chelugui added.
BBC Africa Eye revealed how vulnerable Kenyan women are being lured with money to feed a thriving black market for babies. They sell their babies for as little as Sh40,000.
During the year-long investigation, Africa Eye witnessed infants being snatched from homeless mothers and sold for massive profits. The team further exposed illegal child trafficking in street clinics and babies being stolen at a major government-run hospital.
The BBC team also managed to directly buy an abandoned baby from a hospital official, who used legal paperwork to obtain custody of a two-week-old boy.
In Nairobi, the going-rate to steal a baby from a woman is about Sh50,000 for a girl and Sh80,000 for a boy.
Anita, a woman involved in the business said her boss was a local businesswoman who buys stolen babies from petty criminals and sells them for a profit. She said some of the customers were barren women while others use the babies for rituals.
“Yes, they are used for sacrifices. These children just disappear from the streets and they are never seen again,” Anita said.
Some of the methods Anita uses to steal babies include drugging their mothers and feeding them with sleeping pills or glue.