US names Kenya in
Story by KEVIN J KELLEY in New York
Publication Date: 06/16/2004
Kenya has been placed on an international watchlist as a transit
point for women and children smuggled from other African countries
as sex slaves.
A report by the United States Government says Kenya is "country
of origin, destination, and transit point" of people smuggled
across borders for sexual exploitation and forced labour.
The annual report on human trafficking worldwide claims that among
the victims are Kenyan children from rural areas who are trafficked
into urban centres and coastal resorts for involuntary work,
Sex tourism is becoming more common on the Coast, the US alleges.
"Women and children are trafficked from Burundi and Rwanda to
coastal areas in Kenya for sexual exploitation in the growing sex
tourism industry," the report says. It notes that "the
Government recently began a registration programme for coastal
guesthouses, in part to deter sex tourism".
Some of the victims from Asian countries are trafficked through
Kenya to European destinations for sexual exploitation, the report
says. In addition, "Asian nationals, principally Indians,
Bangladeshi and Nepalese, are trafficked into Kenya and coerced into
bonded labour in the construction and garment industries".
Overall, the United States gives the Kenyan Government a failing
grade for efforts to combat the growing slave trade within and
across Kenya’s borders.
The State Department report puts Kenya on a "watch list"
of countries that could face US sanctions if they do not take more
effective action to prevent human trafficking.
"Some trafficking offences could be prosecuted under laws
addressing child labour, forced detention for prostitution and the
commercial exploitation of children, but no trafficking-related
offences have been prosecuted", the report says in its
assessment of Kenya. "Kenyan police officials continue to deny
that trafficking is a problem."
But in seeming contradiction to these criticisms, the State
Department says elsewhere in the same assessment that Kenyan
officials are increasingly engaged with the United States to develop
anti-trafficking programmes. The report notes that a human
trafficking unit was created in the police force last year with US
Ten countries are designated in the report as most out of compliance
with international efforts to prevent human trafficking. African
countries included on this list are Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone
The watchlist on which Kenya is placed also includes Tanzania as
well as leading US allies such as Japan and Greece.
Some countries have made significant progress in fighting what
Secretary of State Colin Powell described as a "kind of evil"
that victimises up to 800,000 people a year.
Introducing the report on Monday, Mr Powell was accompanied by
Paramount Chief Togbega Hadjor from Ghana, who was praised for
fighting child trafficking "like a warrior" in his Lake