Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 14:54 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Kenya

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 14 June 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Kenya, 14 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c1883e7c.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
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)

Kenya is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced labor and forced prostitution. Within the country, Kenyan children are forced into domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation – including involvement in the coastal sex tourism industry – and forced labor in agriculture (including on flower plantations), fishing, cattle herding, street vending, and bars. Traffickers – who gain poor families' trust through familial, tribal, or religious ties – falsely offer to raise and educate children in towns, or to obtain women lucrative employment. Trafficked Kenyan adults are exploited in involuntary domestic servitude and forced prostitution. Kenyan men, women, and children voluntarily migrate to the Middle East, other East African nations, and Europe in search of employment, where they are exploited in domestic servitude, massage parlors and brothels, and forced manual labor, including in the construction industry. At least 10 Kenyan trafficking victims remained in detention in Saudi Arabia at the end of the reporting period. Children from Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda are subjected to forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation in Kenya. Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani women reportedly transit Nairobi en route to exploitation in Europe's sex trade. There were reports during the year that the al- Shabaab militia and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government may have recruited Somali youth under the age of 18 from Kenya-based refugee camps and Nairobi's Eastleigh neighborhood to participate in armed conflict in Somalia.

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. During the reporting period, the government re-launched its national anti-trafficking committee, finished drafting a national action plan, and partnered with a foreign government to arrest and extradite a suspected trafficker. While the government convicted at least two Kenyan trafficking offenders in 2009, most prosecutions failed to progress and data on such cases were not compiled at the provincial or national level.

Recommendations for Kenya: Pass, enact, and implement the draft comprehensive anti-trafficking bill; provide additional awareness training to all levels of government, particularly law enforcement officials, on identifying and responding to trafficking crimes; increase efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders, including government officials suspected of complicity with human trafficking crimes; establish an official process for law enforcement officials to refer trafficking victims for assistance; institute trafficking awareness training for diplomats posted overseas; engage Middle Eastern governments on improving protections for Kenyan workers; and implement the national action plan.

Prosecution

The government failed to provide statistics on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, but convicted and punished at least two trafficking offenders during the reporting period. Though Kenya does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking statute, all forms of trafficking are prohibited through a variety of legal statutes. Sections 14, 15, and 17 of the Sexual Offenses Act of 2006 prohibit the facilitation of child sex tourism (prescribed punishment of at least 10 years' imprisonment), child prostitution (prescribed punishment of at least 10 years' imprisonment), and forced prostitution (prescribed punishment of at least five years' imprisonment); these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. Specific sections of the Children's Act could also be used to prosecute sex trafficking offenses. These laws, however, are not widely used by prosecutors. Sections 13 and 18 of the Sexual Offenses Act and Section 18 of the Children's Act intend to prohibit child and adult sex trafficking, but contain unclear definitions and include crimes that are outside of the internationally-accepted scope of human trafficking. The Employment Act of 2007 outlaws, but does not prescribe, punishments for forced labor. Section 266 of the Penal Code outlaws unlawful compulsory labor, but classifies the crime as a misdemeanor offense and does not prescribe penalties. Section 264 prescribes a penalty of seven years' imprisonment for buying or disposing of a person as a slave, while Section 260 prescribes a penalty of 10 years' imprisonment for kidnapping for the purpose of slavery. In November 2009, Parliament's Legal Affairs Department approved the draft Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill and forwarded it to the Clerk's Office for review.

In September 2009, a Nairobi court sentenced two Kenyan women to 10 years' imprisonment for subjecting children to prostitution. The Department of Public Prosecutions, however, did not produce data on anti-trafficking prosecutions or convictions achieved during the year. In 2009, authorities at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport detained an American citizen on suspicion of trafficking Asian women to Eastern Europe via Nairobi and government officials worked closely with United States law enforcement to arrest and extradite him to Thailand. In the previous reporting period, Kenyan police began compiling records of sexual offenses against children in Coast Province, where child sex tourism is most prevalent. They did not, though, disaggregate how many of the 93 alleged offenders charged in 2008 purportedly perpetrated sex trafficking offenses. With the assistance of NGO lecturers, the Kenya Police Training College provided anti-trafficking and child protection training to police recruits during their training as cadets. In conjunction with international organizations, the government trained police officers and immigration officials who work along the Somali border and at the two international airports to identify victims of transnational trafficking. Corruption among law enforcement authorities and other public officials continued to hamper efforts to bring traffickers to justice; in certain regions, corrupt police or immigration officials were complicit in, received bribes to overlook, or obstructed investigations of human trafficking. The government made no efforts to investigate or prosecute officials suspected of involvement in or facilitation of trafficking during the reporting period.

Protection

The government sustained minimal but inadequate victim protection efforts throughout the year. The government lacked both a mechanism for identifying victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations and a formal referral process to transfer victims to NGOs for assistance; it maintained no record of the number of victims referred by government officials to IOM or NGO service providers during the year. The government reportedly operated two shelters for child trafficking victims – one for boys and the other for girls – in Garissa, North East Province, but did not provide further information on these facilities. In 2009, the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Development hired an additional 67 Children's Officers – officials charged with advocating for children's rights and obtaining services for children in need – bringing the total number to 400. These officers coordinated the work of 2,427 local Children's Advisory Committees, which worked in partnership with police to combat child trafficking, monitor institutions – such as orphanages – providing charitable services to children, and advance awareness of human trafficking at the local level. During the reporting period, Children's Officers participated in trafficking investigations and provided counseling and follow-up to child trafficking victims. In addition, Children's Officers served on the management committee of the Rescue Center, a shelter for sex trafficking victims in Mombasa, and provided case assessments and service referrals for victims. The government also worked with Ugandan authorities to repatriate four Ugandan children who had been identified in conditions of forced labor. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Development continued partnership with a local NGO to jointly operate a 24-hour toll-free hotline for reporting cases of child trafficking, labor, and abuse. The hotline is located in a government-owned building and staffed, in part, by Children's Officers who facilitated rescues and made referrals to appropriate district officials. During the reporting period, the hotline received 27 reports of child trafficking and 13 concerning child prostitution.

The Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh provided assistance, including with repatriation, to at least two victims of involuntary domestic servitude during the reporting period; other victims, however, complained that the embassy was slow to intervene in their cases, did not expeditiously process travel documents, and did not provide material support. While the government did not encourage Kenyan victims' assistance in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes during the reporting period, it did not inappropriately incarcerate or otherwise penalize them for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Police, however, reportedly arrested foreign trafficking victims for engaging in prostitution or being in Kenya without valid identity documents; in most cases, they pled guilty to immigration violations and were quickly deported. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they would face hardship or retribution.

Prevention

The government made modest progress in its efforts to prevent human trafficking. The National Steering Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, chaired by the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare, met twice during the second half of the reporting period and completed the drafting of a five-year National Action Plan on Human Trafficking; the plan has not yet been approved by the cabinet. In 2009, the government cosponsored public advertising, including large billboards, near Mombasa airport and in resort areas carrying anti-child prostitution messages and threatening prosecution for tourists engaging in child sex tourism. In partnership with various donor-funded programs, labor officers, children's officers, social workers, chiefs, health officials, police, and religious leaders identified and withdrew children from forced labor situations during the reporting period. District-level child labor committees, in conjunction with local Children's Advisory Committees, raised awareness of child trafficking and labor among local populations. The Ministry of Labor, which is required by law to review and attest to all employment contracts for individuals legally migrating to work overseas, verified 400 contracts between December 2009 and February 2010; migrant workers, however, often left Kenya before their contracts had been reviewed and approved. It is unknown whether the government provided anti-trafficking training for its troops before deployment on international peacekeeping missions.

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