Nakuru County Rescues Street Families With Disabilities

0
166

Street children with disabilities suspected to have been trafficked from neighboring states have swamped the streets of Nakuru town months after they were repatriated back to their respective countries.

County Children’s  Coordinator Ms. Alice Wanyonyi says the magnanimity of Kenyans was now being exploited by criminals seeking to rake in money from the centuries-old habit that today has morphed into organized crime.

Ms. Wanyonyi notes that the children have been repatriated several times in the recent past but always find their way back in unclear circumstances.

Ms. Wanyonyi states that through a multi-agency approach involving the National Police Service, the Judiciary and Immigration department the Children’s Department was doing its best to end the menace.

“As a department, we have intensified anti-child trafficking advocacy campaigns. We are working with other relevant state and non-state actors to combat child trafficking through prevention, protection, and prosecution,” she points out.

According to the Kenya New Agency, the minors, all with various forms of disabilities are either placed at strategic places along various streets or driven in wheelchairs soliciting for alms from traders and pedestrians.

They are poorly dressed by their handlers, subjecting them to the vagaries of harsh weather.

Ms. Wanyonyi indicates that those behind the syndicate could be exploiting the loophole of the tedious process of taking back the minors to their country of origin.

“To send them home, they have to be arrested and taken to court as children in need of care and protection. Then the court in liaison with children and probation departments may issue repatriation orders to the Officer Commanding Nakuru Police Station (OCS) who will house the children in the cells until necessary arrangements are made to transport them either to their respective countries’ border crossing points,” she explains.

She says the cost of repatriating them is borne by the police department.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has since pledged to widen the directorate’s focus to human trafficking in the East African region.

“Our focus, I must admit, has been on the Northern corridor along the Kenyan border with Ethiopia, South Sudan and less on Uganda and Tanzania. I will see to it that this scope also gets covered adequately, he said.

The beggars, according to Mr. Joab Odinga who operates a tea kiosk along Oginga Odinga Road, are brought to the streets every morning and distributed to different locations. Our numerous efforts to unearth some of the beggars’ minders hit a dead end.

When the media inquired we inquired from 7-year-old Juma about who had brought him to Kenyatta Avenue, he suddenly went quiet, turned his wheelchair in the opposite direction, and resorted to stoic silence effectively ending our interview.

The lady, who appeared nervous, eventually offered to give us back the Sh50 note that we had earlier given him and ‘allow him room’ to continue minding his business.

Most of the children with disabilities who are dropped on the streets in the morning and picked up in the evenings by their ‘minders’ are daily exposed to hunger, and denied education and proper healthcare.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here