The BBC through their Africa Eye program has made damning allegations about a suspected child trafficking ring in Kenya. The broadcaster alleges to have carried a one-year in-depth investigation into the matter and is convinced that there have, indeed, been cases of children being abducted and later sold here in the country. Such news is shocking, to say the least, and being a sensitive matter, please bear with us.
The BBC is a respected organization and is not only the biggest national broadcaster in the world but also the oldest. It has been around for a century and is relied on as a truthful and accurate broadcaster. Through its Africa Eye program, the BBC has made numerous investigations into matters here in Africa, the latest being a possible child trafficking ring operating in Kenya. The BBC has documented its findings as part of their program and for further analysis, please find the BBC Africa Eye episode looking into the matter, termed 'The Baby Stealers', below.
BBC Africa Eye's Allegation of Stolen Babies
BBC Africa Eye has made allegations that children as young as a few months old are being stolen from their mothers here in Kenya and sold on the black market. According to the program, there are child-stealers in Kenya who operate in major cities such as Nairobi, who steal the children from their parents and then sell them to buyers. The children, being vulnerable, cannot understand what is happening and will mostly be too young to even speak.
Therefore, the toddlers themselves are an easy target for the traffickers. The Africa Eye team interviewed a homeless woman who said that her baby had been stolen off the street while she was sleeping. Thousands of children live on the streets in Kenya with their families. This is especially the case in urban places such as Nairobi. The homeless, according to the report, as the most vulnerable in society are an easy target for the traffickers.
Woman Alleges to Have Abducted a Child
One woman named ‘Anita’ in the program was, allegedly, secretly filmed moments after abducting a child. She said that she was fulfilling an order that was given to her by a couple that wanted to buy a child. According to her, she was to sell the child for $450 or KES 45,000. Anita was secretly filmed by an informant of the program who was covered in a niqaab or ‘buibui’ to conceal her identity. The informant spoke Kikuyu on meeting Anita with the baby.
Anita told her that she had just stolen the baby and that she would sell the baby for the $450 fee. The informant then went on to tell Anita that she knew buyers who were willing to pay $700 or KES 70,000 for the child and offered to link Anita to the buyers. Mind you, the BBC Africa Eye reporter posed as the buyer. The informant arranged a meeting and Anita met the reporter the next day in Nairobi.
Babies Allegedly Go for $700
Anita met the reporter and they spoke and she agreed that she would go and bring the baby for the price of $700. The reporter, posing as the buyer, asked Anita how many children she had stolen and Anita said two. She also asked whether Anita had ever been arrested and she said no. Anita then left, alleging to go get the baby, but did not return. The team later learned that Anita had sold the baby to a higher bidder.
The Africa Eye team reported the matter to the Central Police Station in Nairobi, and the suspects are currently being looked for. There is the likelihood that the crime has been occurring for a while and this can only be ascertained after investigations are done. Three suspects have since been arrested and arraigned in court to answer child trafficking charges. The three are among medical officers in various institutions such as hospitals and children’s homes, accused of colluding with traffickers to steal, and then sell children. Child trafficking is part of human trafficking in Kenya, and numerous cases have been reported in recent years.
Kenya's Ministry of Labor and Social Protection
Today, after the report aired on the BBC, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection came out and condemned the suspected child trafficking. The CS for Labor said that the perpetrators of the suspected child trafficking would be met by the full force of the law. He also said that the government had created a special investigation team to look into the allegations. What struck me the most is how shaken the Africa Eye reporter, who had been investigating the matter, was. She said that what she had learned in the course of the Africa Eye investigations had “shaken her to her core as a person, as a woman, and also as a Kenyan.”