Child exploitation takes place in different forms in Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa. These include domestic servitude; forced labour in supermarkets, hotels and restaurants; forced begging on the streets; sexual exploitation; and forced marriage.
Common forms of deception used by traffickers are offers of well-paid jobs and free education. Online grooming and/or abduction are also common.
Domestic servitude is the main hidden industry in which child labour exploitation takes place. This is seen predominantly in private middle-class houses or hotels. Boys and girls are forced to work and are vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse. They are unable to leave the house in which they are exploited and they receive no wages for cooking, cleaning or childminding duties. This type of exploitation is hard to spot as victims are hidden from the public.
Sex tourism fuels sexual exploitation of children in Kenya and is most prevalent in Mombasa and Nairobi. Children are groomed and targeted online and forced to work in brothels. Parents and children are also approached directly in the community or via social media with offers of work in exchange for payment of education. Traffickers deceive those from low income areas such as Mukuru, Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi and traffic children for the purpose of sexual exploitation to areas such as Westlands. In Kisumu sexual exploitation in brothels is common as truck drivers will pass through these rural areas at night.
Forced begging occurs where children and unaccompanied minors living and working on the streets are forced into criminality. These individuals are extremely vulnerable to abuse, and unaware of their legal rights. They may also be trafficked to Somalia for radicalisation. Exploitation in the fishing industry is prevalent on the lakes in Kisumu. Traffickers recruit victims from other countries, refusing to let them off boats, often physically abusing those who complain or try to escape.
Forms of Exploitation
Exploitation can occur in a number of different forms and through various methods so it is important to be aware of this. Unfortunately, children are commonly exploited by people you know. If you receive an offer, whether from a stranger or someone you trust, please check it is not a fake promise.
Children are also directly targeted, either online through social media or in person in the community. Middlemen promise gifts and money, and gain their trust with false promises.
Some boys and girls are forced to work as shamba boys, yayas and house help. They work from the early hours of the morning until late at night with no food, money or education. Other children are forced into commercial prostitution or forced to beg on the streets.
This is human trafficking.
It is illegal.
Spot the signs
Do children show signs of psychological or physical abuse? Do they appear frightened, withdrawn or confused?
Are children forced to stay in accommodation provided by the employer? Do children have restricted movement on leaving or entering the premises? Are they always accompanied?
Do children work long hours with no breaks and very low pay?
STOP THE TRAFFIK work with key local partners to disrupt the trafficking networks across Kenya.