The high poverty rates amongst a large part of Kenya’s population means that many children are at risk of exploitation. One out of every five Kenyan children lives below the poverty line. In an attempt to escape poverty, many children migrate to urban centres, searching for better prospects for their future. Sexual exploitation of children is on the rise, not only because of poverty, but also because of tourism, industrialisation and the growing number of street children in urban centres.
Kenya’s capital Nairobi is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. The rural-urban migration is a breeding ground for child trafficking. Children move to the capital under the guise of better education opportunities, but end up as child domestic workers in the informal settlements, other worst forms of child labour or in commercial sexual exploitation. Our child trafficking programme has been focusing not only on the Nairobi informal settlements as destination, but also on the main source areas where children are trafficked from.
In addressing child exploitation in Kenya, we pay specific attention to ensure that more children can access education, and that education is of good quality. Together with economic empowerment of victims’ households, these are important tools to curb child exploitation.
In Kenya’s Kwale county, where tourism once flourished, girls and boys increasingly see no other way than offering their bodies for sale. Amid high unemployment and deep poverty the local demand for cheap sex is growing. Read the story.