Official raises alarm on child trafficking in Kilifi


A cartel is trafficking in children who are then used for begging from the public, an official has revealed.

Kilifi County Director for Children's Services Maurice Tsuma said a woman was behind the network of forced child begging in the county.

"With the help of the police, my office is trailing a woman trafficking in children aged between of two and five years from Tarasaa in Tana River County to Kilifi County who are being used in begging from the public," said Mr Tsuma.

He said his office was working with the police in Kilifi to arrest the woman and charge her with trafficking in children and engaging them in an exploitative business of begging from the public for her own benefit.

The number of children begging along the streets in Kilifi and Malindi towns has shot up in the recent months.

"We have tried to organise for transport to take these children back to Tana River and handed them over to their respective families but it is shocking to learn that the woman goes for them and brings them back to Kilifi," said Mr Tsuma.

The Children's Department estimates indicate the suspect had trafficked up to 20 minors from different parts of the region to use them for begging.

Tsuma raised concerns that cases of child trafficking from upcountry to Coast were also on the rise but added that no specific survey had been conducted to come up with the actual data.

He said it was common for some people to ferry children to the Coast region either on promises that they are going to sponsor them to pursue education or to offer them jobs.

However, once those children, mostly girls, arrive in Coast, they are used for commercial sex or are employed as house girls with no pay.

He said some people have opened brothels where they use the young girls they have brought in from upcountry to engage them in commercial sex with foreign and local tourists.

"Cases of child trafficking are there but the only problem is that no proper survey has been conducted to come up with specific figures on how many children could be involved in that dirty business," said Tsuma.

Officials in the Children's Department have cautioned the public against falling prey to children begging in the streets since most of them are being misused.