Babies, sold for as little as $400, were stolen from vulnerable mothers in Kenya to be sold.
All Africa reports that three staff at the Mama Lucy Kibabki hospital had been arrested this week by Kenya officials during an investigation into the theft and sale of babies. The investigation, by the BBC, found that some public hospitals and care homes were in collusion with organized crime, in trafficking children. The arrests were spurred by the BBC having aired its shocking documentary, ‘The Baby Stealers’. The investigation lasted a year. It found that young children were seized from homeless women, while illegal street clinics in informal settlements were buying newborns from impoverished mothers.
Kenya’s Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said there was a high possibility that there would be further arrests, following the arrest of the three hospital staff. She said, “During an operation by police to unearth the organized crime, police officers noted with a lot of concern that local public hospitals and children homes within Nairobi are involved.”
All Africa reports that Kenya has long been plagued by child trafficking. Meanwhile, according to the US State Department’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons report, Kenya is a ‘source, transit and destination country for men, women and children who are forced into labour and sexual slavery’. Children are forced into ‘domestic work, farming, fishing, herding, street vending and begging’. According to All Africa both girls and boys are forced to service the sex tourism industry on Kenya’s east coast but are also exploited in prostitution across the country.
While there are no accurate figures as to the number of children trafficked in Kenya. the 2020 report by the US State Department said the Kenyan government had identified 578 child victims in 2019. Rights groups say the number is far higher.
Umm Muhammed Umar