Protection of Children is a Shared Responsibility, Missing Child Kenya

By Lynnet Okumu / Published January 24, 2022 | 12:16 pm




KEY POINTS

Over one million children are reported missing around the globe. ICMEC - International Center for Missing and Exploited Children confirms the reality that it's very difficult to get accurate numbers of missing children from many countries including Kenya.


Missing Children

KEY TAKEAWAYS


The high number of unknown and undetermined cases indicate the challenge in the investigation of cases of missing children by the various agencies.


A report released by Missing Child Kenya has revealed that with the rampant cases of kids missing in Kenya, the vice can only be dealt with if we acknowledge and implement the protection of children as a shared responsibility of the state at the level of law enforcement, guardians, reception centers, hotline operators, and more.

Over one million children are reported missing around the globe. ICMEC – International Center for Missing and Exploited Children confirms the reality that it’s very difficult to get accurate numbers of missing children from many countries including Kenya.

This is mainly because some people at the different levels play blame games and do not take the responsibility of protecting the child. Some are just ignorant.

As Missing Children Europe puts it, Gathering the data necessary to impact change for missing children is a global responsibility.

The Missing Child Kenya report revealed that as much as efforts have been put to keep the child safe, the increased number of children going missing is a result of some factors which should be great areas of concern to the whole Kenyan community. These areas of concern include:

  1. Child Trafficking;

The 2019 Global report trafficking person report released in June by the US Department of State profiles Kenya as a top Tire 2 source, transit point, and destination for people subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.

The counter-trafficking data collaborative data shows that 1 in every 6 victims trafficked is a child.

  1. Orphanage trafficking

An estimated 8 million children are living in orphanages globally even though 80 percent of these children are not orphans. The report recognized that the orphanages’ are destination points for trafficked children.

Individuals run children’s homes for-profit and therefore keep lost and found children without attempting to reunite them with their families.

  1. Differently Abled Children

Differently-abled children e.g., children on the Autism spectrum are at a greater risk of getting lost if they wander off from care. They may not be able to give helpful details to reunite them with family.

  1. Infertility

Medical care for women facing infertility issues is expensive and inaccessible. the stigma of infertility is a contributing factor to the theft of children.

  1. Demeaning Cultural Practices

Cultural practices such as the need for a male child as an heir put children at risk. a family without a male child is not respected in most Kenyan communities.

  1. Poverty/Child Labor

Poor economic conditions force some children to run away or be coerced into child labor by the traffickers. The exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives them of their childhood interferes with their ability to attend regular school and is mentally physically socially and morally harmful.

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The report further suggested various interventions or solutions that can be considered to end the prevalence of child missing cases. Some of the interventions include:

  1. Training and community awareness on desensitizing child labor especially since it’s sometimes perpetrated by close family or friends to help help the child awareness on reporting avenues.
  2. Providing tailor-made personal safety education programs for parents caregivers and teachers of children with special needs.
  3. Educating the community on orphanage trafficking through training. Report suspect institutions to the nearest county children’s office.
  4. Providing information on access to safe shelter and also making the toll-free line 0800 22 33 44 available for psychosocial support.
  5. Providing self-awareness programs for teenagers. also flag ad report adults engaging in inappropriate relationships with minors.
  6. Work in conjunction with school departments of children’s services and child welfare institutions for family support programs. Flag and report suspected cases of harmful cultural practices.

The report further revealed that the high number of unknown and undetermined cases indicate the challenge in the investigation of cases of missing children by the various agencies.

The community is however encouraged to continue reporting all cases of missing children, lost and found/displaced children as soon as the incidences occur.

Missing Child Kenya which is the only toll-free helpline in Kenya 0800 22 33 44 dedicated to responding to the emergency needs of missing, lost has  partnered  with 116, the Department of Children’s Services Kenya (DCS), Anti-Human Trafficking & Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU) and all other child protection stakeholders to jointly process and document cases of missing/lost and found children






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