Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kenya

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kenya, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Kenya (Tier 2 Watch List)

Kenya is a country of origin, destination, and transit for victims trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims are trafficked from South Asian and East Asian countries and the Middle East through Kenya to European destinations for sexual exploitation. Asian nationals, principally Indians, Bangladeshi, and Nepalese, are trafficked into Kenya and coerced into bonded labor in the construction and garment industries. Kenyan children are trafficked internally from rural areas to urban centers and coastal areas into involuntary servitude, including work as street vendors and day laborers, and into prostitution. Women and children are trafficked from Burundi and Rwanda to coastal areas in Kenya for sexual exploitation in the growing sex tourism industry.

The Government of Kenya does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Kenya has been classified as Tier 2 Watch List because the absolute number of trafficking victims is significant and there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year. Kenyan officials should recognize that trafficking in persons is a national problem and engage forcefully on the issue. The government should develop a national action plan, step up border security, provide training to law enforcement officials, and conduct anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns. The government needs to enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation and continue to combat official corruption.


Kenya lacks a specific anti-trafficking statute and has no comprehensive law enforcement programs targeting trafficking. Some trafficking offenses could be prosecuted under laws addressing child labor, forced detention for prostitution, and the commercial exploitation of children, but no trafficking-related offenses have been prosecuted. Kenyan Government officials are increasingly engaged with the United States to develop anti-trafficking programs. A human trafficking unit in the police force was created in 2003 with U.S. assistance. Kenyan police officials continue to deny that trafficking is a problem. Immigration officials receive brief training on human trafficking. Government corruption is rife, but there were no reports that officials are directly involved in trafficking. It is illegal in Kenya to live on the income generated through commercial sex work.


The government provides no assistance to trafficking victims in Kenya and does not train police officials in how to identify trafficking victims. Government assistance to NGOs is minimal due to resource constraints. The Ministry of Home Affairs established an office in Saudi Arabia to provide assistance to Kenyans who work there. It also implemented an employment program that targets orphaned and abandoned youth, which could be extended to trafficking victims. The fledgling program offers training and subsidized employment.


The government permits NGOs and international organizations to conduct awareness campaigns and collect information, but conducts no prevention programs of its own. In response to reports of Kenyan nationals being victimized by fraudulent employment schemes in the Middle East, the Ministry of Labor operated a program of education, awareness, and inspection for agencies that facilitate the employment of Kenyans overseas. The program seeks to educate Kenyans as to their rights and to lessen the possibility they could become victims, and to prevent the use of illegal smuggling firms. Kenyans using legitimate employment agencies receive information on their legal rights and their contracts are filed with the government. The government recently began a registration program for coastal guesthouses, in part to deter sex tourism. The government lacks the resources to effectively monitor its borders.

Search Refworld