Even though the government is involved in protecting and safe guarding the rights of Children, through various government and non-governmental organs, there are still many cases of child abuse and child rights violation in Kenya.
Hundreds of thousands of children in Kenya are still going through many challenges; such as sexual abuse, child labor, child prostitution, child trafficking, early marriages, physical and emotional abuse, female genital mutilation, abandonment, neglect and homelessness.
Data from Childline, a non-governmental organisation that runs a child abuse helpline, shows that 1,296 cases of child abuse were reported through more than 800 calls made to the helpline, housed within the department of children’s services in Lower Kabete Children’s Home, near Nairobi, in 2017.
And even though there are mechanisms being put in place to help children who are being abused, the systems still have loopholes that some times make it very hard for many cases to be reported and be handled properly. Issues such as remoteness of some areas, lack of proper channels of report, fear of perpetrators if the reporter is not protected, cultural practices, lack of information etc, also hinder the process of child protection.
– works with the larger community to help sensitive people on the rights of the children;
– works with government officials and authorities to help them understand issues about child protection and rights well;
– works with schools to help children know their rights and how to report the cases; help in reporting and collecting evidence of abuse;
– offers support to abused children;
– offers alternative homes for the abused as well as help the victims to seek justice, among other needs surrounding the issue.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 children are trafficked every year in Kenya with girls especially 16 year olds being targeted. These girls are linked to sexual exploitation and child sex tourism in the coastal towns of Mombasa, Malindi, Kwale and others. Further studies have indicated that most people are trafficked from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea with Mandera, Moyale and Nairobi counties being the transit corridors for the human trafficking trade.
ANPPCAN says most of the children’s victims of trafficking end up in Southern Sudan, Libya and Europe via Mandera County. The study also shows that the number of trafficked girls from Garissa and Somalia into Nairobi weekly stands at 50.
Husika-Afrika, in efforts to contribute to the end of this trade and exploitation of children and violation of their rights;
– Holds seminars and conferences to train law enforcers and sensitized them on the laws on human trafficking to have an in-depth understanding which can help in curbing the rising numbers of people being trafficked every day in the country.
– Provides safe spaces for past victims to get psycho-social support through counseling and sharing of their experiences with each other and other members of their communities in order to learn life skills and their rights as young people and women.
– Organizes training and sensitization programs in schools and other community forums to alert vulnerable groups about these cases and how to avoid being victims.
Cases of human trafficking continue to be reported daily and many of these cases involve children and women.
However, the media has failed to give prominence to most of these cases thus contributing to unreported instances in this illegal trade.
COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN (CSEC)
Commercial sexual exploitation of children is one of the most severe violations of their rights and is a particular threat to child protection in Kenya generally, and Coast province specifically. Commercial sexual exploitation of children (especially girls as young as 14) is a disgusting defiance of the human dignity and rights of children and adolescents and a form of economic exploitation similar to slavery and forced labor.
Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation suffer severe physical and psychological harm. They not only risk injuries from physical violence, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, they also lose self-esteem, feel humiliated, guilty, and sadness. Once entrapped in the sex trade, it is difficult for them to break loose. They may live in fear of retribution and have to bear the additional traumas of social stigmatization, marginalization and even rejection by their families and communities.
A recent ILO survey revealed that commercial sexual exploitation of children has a direct link to drug and substance abuse that is so rampant on the Kenyan Coast. At this point, their prospects for decent work as adults are limited – ILO/IPEC 2015 report.
– Target and raise awareness about the dangers of commercial sexual exploitation to children vulnerable to the vice.
– Setup referral mechanisms and safety nets to ensure that sexually exploited children are withdrawn, rehabilitated and reintegrated with their families and communities.
– Collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure that sexually exploited children receive education and training services, and participate in income generating activities.
– Foster a robust men, boys and community-based child protection structures aimed at preventing and protecting children from sexual exploitation.
– Build the capacities and competencies of members of the judiciary and police on matters related to child sexual exploitation prevention, protection and child-friendly interview techniques.
It is very common to see children being sent to work for pay in the shambas; as house-helps, traders in the market; etc to fend for the family or supplement the income of the family, at the expense of education. Some children however are forced to do this as they do not have parents or guardians, or they have them but they are not able to fend for them due to old age, sickness or disabilities.
Thousands of other children live and scavenge on the streets as a result of being orphaned, abused at home, running away from home to seek freedom, among many family related issues.
– Works with relevant authorities to try rescue these children from the streets and offer safe spaces.
– Partners with authorities and other organizations that work with children to investigate where a child is being used, and tries to help out by suggesting or offering an alternative way of income that parents or guardian would do so that the children are allowed to go to school and the needed knowledge.
– Offers psycho-social support to children who have been used and abused in the such cases, and help them recover and be reintegrated back to normal life and school if they had dropped out.
– Sensitizes children and parents/guardian about the rights of the children and help them think of alternatives to child labour.
– Creates awareness of the dangers of child labour to both the children and the parents/guardians; things like sexual abuse by predators, introduction to drugs and substance abuse, introduction to criminal activities, loss of school time among other risks associated with child labour.
Child labour is one of the biggest violation of Children’s right. Yet in Kenya it’s the most practiced; in the open. Children are forced to engage in various kinds of child labour everywhere in Kenya. The most humiliating happens in major towns like Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret and Kitale, where you find children being sent by their parents to ask for money and other things from strangers or given sweets, grounds etc to hawk on the streets, and sometime on the busy roads during traffic, risking their lives should a vehicle hits them, as it has happened to many people. Some have been hit or sand-witched between vehicles as they hawk on the traffic. Some children are used to walk blind relatives on the streets and ask for money, while others, mostly disabled are placed by the roadside daily to ask for money from passersby, most times without food or even a drink.