Following a year-long investigation by the BBC Africa Eye that revealed the intricate operations of baby buying and selling syndicate in Kenya, the Kenyan police has now arrested three medical officers from a public hospital in Nairobi in connection with the offense and are set to be arraigned in court.
”As the investigations continue there’s a possibility that more persons will be arrested,” read part of a statement by the National Police Service
According to the investigative piece, the racket involves trusted members of the community, well-placed government officials including employees in public hospitals in a trade that has robbed hundreds of women of their children for the financial benefit of a few leaving behind a trail of pain and despair.
In a statement, the Inspector general of police has asked officers to commence investigations in hospitals and children’s home’s
”To address this challenge countrywide, the Inspector General of Police has directed all county police commanders to closely work with the local children’s officers and other local security agencies to immediately undertake investigations and operations on matters touching on child trafficking within their areas of jurisdiction especially in local public and private hospitals, and children’s homes
The Kenyan government has also constituted a multi-agency team to investigate allegations of child theft and trafficking in the country.
According to Labour and Social Services Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, the investigation is at a preliminary stage to establish all the networks behind the syndicate.
“Following this expose, a team of officers and experts from the relevant government agencies has been constituted to exhaustively investigate and take the necessary action. As the Government of Kenya, we do not condone child trafficking and we will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this issue,” he said during a press briefing at Kenya’s capital, Nairobi on Tuesday.
Chelugui further assured Kenyans that health facilities across the country are secure and safe for mothers and children.
Kenyans are now been asked to report any case involving child trafficking to Child Helpline 116, the police, or relevant government agencies.
“The Government of Kenya is committed to the safety and security of all children and would like to inform Kenyans that if for one reason or the other, they may not have children of their own, that there are legal procedures for adopting,” the CS added.
According to BBC’s Africa Eye, the agencies responsible for finding missing children and tracking the black market are under-resourced and under-staffed.
In its four years in operation, the organization has worked on about 600 cases
“This is a very big issue in Kenya but it is underreported. At Missing Child Kenya we have barely scratched the surface,” she said.
The penalty for child trafficking in Kenya is steep. A person found guilty is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 30 years or a fine of not less than Sh20 million or to both and upon subsequent conviction, to imprisonment for life.