A United Nations report titled Trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict says that Kenyan women are held in Somalia for forced marriages and sex slavery.
The report done by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), revealed that women from the Coast region are targeted most and are taken to Somalia by the Al-Shabaab militia group.
According to the report, women and girls from Kenya are duped into going to Somalia with promises of landing jobs but end up getting married forcefully and used as sex slaves.
The human trafficking is said to have begun in 2017 when the terror group recruited women and young girls from the Kenyan coastal region and transported them into territories controlled by Al Shabaab in Somalia.
The traffickers are said to target vulnerable people such as those living in poverty, the illiterate and the jobless women to coerce them into accepting ‘to travel abroad’, only to ensure that en route they are dropped in various places into captivity.
It is also reported that abducted children from these regions are not only forced into exploitive marriages or sex slavery but also recruited for use in combat and support roles in the terror group.
“The first batch of women were abducted from the coast into slavery in 2017. The armed traffickers take advantage of their desperation and either coerce or forcefully abduct them and sell them to slavery. Children are trafficked for purposes such as armed combat and sexual slavery,” the report says.
The UN report also says that refugees fleeing conflict are at a higher risk of being victims of human trafficking, seeing as the conflict in Somalia has seen a large number of people displaced, creating a steady flow of refugees.
The UN says that refugee camps in neighboring countries and informal settlements within the country have problems such as unavailability of employment, and it is such desperate situations that lead many to become victims of trafficking, extortion and sex slavery.