Child Prostitution on the Rise in Kenya
Filed Under: Opinion, World | Posted: 11/30/2007 at 7:41AM
Comments | Region: Kenya
Child prostitution ruins schooling in Kenya. As children are being turned into tourist attractions in Kenya, their rights are undermined, there futures are destroyed completely, and perhaps they are left with HIV and AIDS.
A study by the Kenyan Institute of Policy Analysts and Research (IPAR) has found that Kenya is a major source, transit and destination country for trafficked women, men and children who are forced into unpaid work or forced in to prostitutions.
The report, Trafficking in Persons from a Labour Perspective: the Kenya experience, published by the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, highlights a problem that seems to have evaluated in the last few years- as the buying and selling of human being continues.
The study shows that Kenyans victims are being trafficked to other countries mostly through bogus employment agencies that deceive victims into going abroad for work. Unsuspecting victims are then sent to European, Australia, North America, or the Middle East/Gulf region, where they end up as bonded labour or prostitutes. Some African countries such as South Africa and Botswana are also recipients of these modern day slavery.
Nevertheless- many of victims in this business are children who are being exploited, who then imported from the rural homes in Kenya, countries such as Germany and Italy leads in child for sex tourism in the coastal Kenya. Both of these countries are said to be prone to child exploitation- sex. At the Kenyan coast where the two countries tourists flock; they flock into Kenya coast with the aim of child prostitution and sex for tourism, the little girls as from the age of 12-25, are the eyesore for these old frail tourists from these European countries. In the same coastal cities two towns have been marked as tourists child sex towns in Kenya, where the white aging 60s, 70s and 80s are frequently spotted with young little girls aging 12-25 whom they call their girlfriends or fiancés. These little children have been turned into sex slavery.
The ugly part of this is that- these children drop-out from school having been lured into early relationships and sex by these tourists.
According to the latest ILO’s report, estimates (2006), the number of child lobourers by 11 percent globally over the past four years and the number of children in hazardous work have decreased by 26 percent. While this encouraging, there are still 218 million child labourers worldwide, 126 million of which are engaged in hazardous work. Kenya alone in the horn of Africa leads with humanizing forms of child labour; child prostitution and sex tourism are cases which are very rampant at the Kenyan coastal towns, child trafficking, child slavery, child domestic labour and many more forms of child labour.
In western Kenya, where the region has undergone economic deprivation- due to government alienation and political suppression. The region native find it quite imperative to address the economic challenges which has deployed both negative and positive impact on children. Many children are running away from schools especially with the hope of free primary education, due to the poverty situation in this region where children find it much impossible to seat in a class and pay attention while starving. The social protection in this region and delivery of basic services like education, health, housing and food security puts many families in a bizarre nightmare. These have been the major obstacles to tackle by both the failed governments and the people, in view of economic difficulties experienced in this region.
These factors have modified overall patterns of child employment. Many children at the age of 10-15, have exploited the booming agriculture labour. The sugarcane plantation has the major hotspot in this region, where children wake up at dawn to walk at a distance of 5 to 10 kilometres in search for work, these has been witnessed in most western region districts like Nyando, Rachuonyo, Busia, Mumias, Kisumu and many more.
Nevertheless, the terror of child labour is still shifting every year from agriculture to industry and to services, and more so. Henceforth, these children are being exploited from the wage earning- having worked for more than 8hours and at the same time get underpaid as little as 1 US Dollar. Despite this little wage income, they still have no alternative in that the grinding poverty puts many children to work at a very young age, some of these children are also orphaned.
However, and in brief, the Government of Kenya, International Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, political parties, religion and employers need to cooperate in a joint venture to curb this kind of vice, destroying the future of the next generations and giving Kenya a bad picture to the international communities.