Cablegate: Pace of Anti-Trafficking Activities Quickens in Kenya


DE RUEHNR #3958/01 2771429
P 041429Z OCT 07






E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Pace of Anti-Trafficking Activities Quickens in Kenya


1. (U) Summary: The pace of anti-trafficking activities in Kenya
quickened in the last week of September, with the first Africa-Wide
Conference on Child Sexual Abuse, the regular meeting of the
National anti-TIP Steering Committee, a briefing for 15 new Kenyan
Ambassadors on TIP and victim assistance, and a two-day stakeholders
workshop to redraft the anti-TIP bill. Kenyan agencies are taking
an active role, and cooperating with NGOs, donors and international
organizations on prevention and protection. These initiatives, plus
upcoming G/TIP funding for police training, should lead to improved
prosecution. The Government's plan to increase the export of Kenyan
workers highlights the urgency of developing an effective
anti-trafficking regime. End Summary.

First Int'l Conference in Africa on Child Sexual Abuse
--------------------------------------------- --------
2. (U) The African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against
Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), the Government of Kenya (GOK) and
other partners hosted the September 24-26 Conference, which
attracted a large audience of NGOs, government officials,
professionals and media. They discussed many aspects of child
sexual abuse, including policies for prevention, prosecution, and
treatment, many of which have a bearing on TIP in Kenya. ANPPCAN
said the proceedings will be posted on a website for public viewing.
Labor attache and Pol FSN attended the opening plenary session of
the conference and some workshops.

3. (U) ANPPCAN's Africa Headquarters representative stated the
Conference marked wide recognition of the need to break the silence
on the long-standing problem of child sexual abuse in Africa. He
noted that children were more vulnerable, especially due to the
numerous conflicts and the effects of HIV Aids, and subjected to sex
tourism perpetrated by both men and women. Although African
tradition and culture used to protect women and children, their lack
of voice or role has left them vulnerable to a rising trend of
exploitation. He called for giving children a greater role in
discussing the issues and developing innovative solutions. The
Junior President of Kenya's Child Parliament called for empowering
Kenya's youth by providing more information on abuse and abusers,
and on children's rights under international agreements and Kenya's
Children's and Sexual Offences Acts.

4. (U) Lady Justice Aluoch, head of the Family Division of Kenya's
High Court and of the Task Force to Implement the Sexual Offences
Act, reviewed the initiatives at the UN and AU to protect children's
rights, and said the States' efforts have not been sufficiently
detailed. Until recently, child sex abuse was never discussed in
Kenya, and offences were dealt with privately through paid
compensation. However, the Sexual Offenses Act would allow only the
Attorney General to allow a filed case to be withdrawn, which she
claimed would protect children from collusion between the offender,
the children's' parents, and community elders. Justice Aluoch noted
that 16% of girls and 15% of boys were now reporting crimes
committed by those supposed to protect them. She stated that
children would soon be able to call emergency line 116 toll-free to
speak to counselors for advice and help.

5. (U) Nigerian Dr. Ademola Ajuwon of Plan International cited a
Canadian study estimating that child sexual abuse cost developing
countries $94 billion directly or in lost future earnings. She
called on African countries to register all children at birth to
document their actual age and enable enforcement of protection laws.
She decried the use of traditional African culture to cover up
child abuse. Child betrothal had degenerated into early marriage,
and fostering into child domestic servitude. She called for
research into the minds of child abusers to determine their
motivations and guide development of policies on prevention,
protection, prosecution, and treatment.

6. (U) Kenya Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Nancy
Kirui estimated that only 20% of child abuse cases are reported to
authorities. The conspiracy of silence within a community, lack of
law enforcement, poor transportation and communications
infrastructure, and inadequate child services institutions were the
main challenges. Kirui noted that government agencies, NGOs, and
international organizations were working together in her National
Steering Committee to develop a National Plan of Action against TIP.
She claimed 14 police stations in Kenya now had Child Protection

7. (U) Vice President Awori opened his keynote address by stating
that although the session had run late, he had stayed and missed a
meeting with GOK officials because he felt that protecting children
from abuse by their families and communities was more important. He
noted the changing environment and pressures on Kenyan families
caused by unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and drug abuse have led
to moral decay and a frayed social fabric. He called for a change
in attitude and behavior, noting the traditional approach by which
community elders resolved incidents of incest, rape and child sexual
abuse was no longer legal and should be rejected. Children in need
were vulnerable to promises by predators, both strangers and members
of their family and community. He noted that commercial sexual
exploitation of children was not restricted to the Coastal area, but
was also rampant in border crossing points, urban and rural areas.

8. (U) VP Awori called for an end to denial of the problem, and for
stakeholders to install response systems that would treat children
as victims needing protection and assistance, not criminals, and
punish the perpetrators instead. He denounced defense lawyers who
protected victim's parents and abusers from justice. Awori noted
Kenya's ratification of child protection Conventions, their
domestication through the Children's Act and Sexual Offences Act,
the need for a law against trafficking, and effective enforcement of
all of them. He praised GOK efforts to control child sex tourism
and assist orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), and assured the
audience that President Kibaki cares deeply about this issue.

9. (U) The Conference subsequently broke into workshops that
discussed issues including: existing knowledge on child sexual
abuse; international experiences, policy and legislation; role of
media; trafficking and sexual violence; and, partnerships and
community participation. Participants shared experiences and gains
made and showed interest when the Nigerians offered to share their
Anti-Trafficking Law with the participants.

10. (U) On September 5, Vice President Awori also spoke at the
launch of a Sh119.2 million ($1.8 million) partnership between
Barclays Bank and UNICEF to assist more than 4,000 street children
in the next three years by establishing drop-in centers Mombasa,
Nairobi, Kisumu and Eldoret. Awori noted that half of Kenya's
population is under 18 years old, 1.8 million of these are orphans,
and that an estimated 8.6 million children live in poverty. Awori
said the Government was formulating a national policy for OVCs which
would expand the Cash Transfer Program currently operating together
with UNICEF in 37 Districts.

National Steering Committee Meeting; Not Much to Discuss
--------------------------------------------- ----------
11. (SBU) The September 25 meeting of the Committee did not
accomplish much because many members were at the Child Abuse
Conference. PS Kirui noted that people would soon be able to call
the 116 emergency number to report cases of trafficking. Concerning
the rescue center project in Mombasa, SOLWODI reported that a
Committee had been formed to run the Center, and a lawyer was
drafting an agreement by which the Archdiocese would lease the
building to the Trustees. SOLWODI hoped that renovations could
begin by the end of October. Post is checking whether a CJTF HOA
civil affairs team can help in renovating the center. IOM reported
it had provided two days of training for the Task Force appointed to
draft the National Plan of Action, and held three drafting sessions.
The Task Force planned to meet again on October 16 to complete the
draft Plan for presentation to the Committee on October 23.

TIP Briefing for New Ambassadors at FSI
12. (U) Hearing of our interest in providing training on trafficking
to Kenyan diplomats, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Foreign
Service Institute (FSI) Director Ambassador Cheluget invited Labor
Attache to organize a briefing for 15 new Ambassadors currently in
training. IOM defined trafficking for the Ambassadors, describing
the international Conventions, and addressing the most common
questions, such as the difference between smuggling migrants and
trafficking. LabAtt followed with practical advice about the
importance of training Embassy staff on trafficking and how to
assist Kenyan trafficking victims. He distributed examples of the
kind of host country information/knowledge their staffs needed, and
where they could get it. Ambassador Cheluget and his FSI staff
seemed pleased with the briefing and will provide future
opportunities to train the new class of diplomats and the mid-grade
officers. The plan is to organize a comprehensive briefing from
IOM, the Ministries of Immigration, Labor, Home Affairs, and the
U.S. Embassy on TIP, the GOK's efforts to address it domestically
and overseas, and how to prepare to assist Kenyan trafficking

Improving the Anti-TIP Bill
13. (SBU) Chaired by NGOs that helped draft the original anti-TIP
bill, and funded through the Kenya Law Reform Commission's GJLOS
program, stakeholders met September 27-28 in a workshop to review
the input from the Attorney General (AG) and UNODC and revise the
bill for resubmission to the AG. Stakeholders were disappointed
that the AG, after claiming since May that his office was revising
the bill, had offered only general advice on reorganizing the
articles and clauses. The only useful advice from the UNODC expert
from Vienna was to clarify the definition of trafficking.

14. (SBU) Labor attache and Pol FSN played an active role in the
workshop. Together with IOM, they persuaded the group to
incorporate and modify the definition of trafficking in the Palermo
Protocol to Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. No one
could explain why the NGOs that drafted the original bill, including
the American Bar Association, used an incomplete and defective
definition of trafficking that would have made prosecution very
difficult. There were lively discussions of all other provisions,
including penalties for traffickers and protections for victims.
The group agreed to keep the Ministry of Home Affairs as the lead
agency in addressing TIP, but assigned certain specific duties to
the Ministry of Immigration. The group did not determine the
necessity of including clauses describing the provisions in existing
laws that would be overtaken by the new bill. For the next step, a
smaller group of NGO reps will incorporate all the agreed
suggestions into a clean draft for stakeholder review. The goal is
to submit a good draft to the AG by early January, after the
election, for submission to the new Cabinet, and then the new

GOK Labor Export Plan...
15. (U) The urgency of Kenya addressing TIP effectively is increased
by GOK plans to export Kenyan workers as a means of reducing
unemployment, transferring technology, and increasing foreign
remittances to Kenya. The Ministry of Labor reported that Kenya is
experiencing jobless economic growth because it is focused on
capital intensive sectors. Nine million youths make up 60% of the
work force, and unemployment remains high among them. Press reports
claim the Ministry of Youth is working on a project to send tens of
thousands of workers the Kenyan economy cannot absorb into foreign
countries as guest workers. The Ministry hoped to increase
remittances from Sh90 billion ($1.3 billion) to Sh600 billion ($9
billion) in two years.

16. (U) The article quotes Labor Export Director Patrick Kasyule as
stating the Youth Ministry planned to export at least 60,000 casual
workers and at least 100,000 skilled workers every year. Kenya is
already exporting teachers to South Sudan and Seychelles, and nurses
to Namibia. Chairperson of the Kenya Association of Private
Employment Agencies Margaret Mugwaja was quoted as claiming Kenya is
becoming a preferred labor source for foreign companies because
Kenyans are hard-working, well trained and speak English.

Appears Vulnerable to TIP
17. (U) The Youth and Labor Ministries propose to collect the names
and CVs of thousands of Kenyan youth and forward them to 25
employment agencies or labor recruiters the Ministries have or will
register and accredit for placement overseas. The Labor Ministry is
working with IOM and the ILO to model the project on similar
initiatives in Philippines, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. To protect
Kenyan migrants, Embassy officials are supposed to act as labor
attaches. However, the Ministries admit Kenya has not yet ratified
the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All
Migrant Workers.

18. (SBU) The GOK has acknowledged Kenya's trafficking problems, and
Post sees rising participation of GOK officials in many anti-TIP
activities. GOK agencies are working with NGOs, international
organizations and donors to develop an anti-trafficking regime that
will implement the Palermo Protocol and protect Kenyans and
foreigners from trafficking inside and outside Kenya. The
Anti-Trafficking Bill should be ready in early 2008, and we hope
Kenya Law Reform Commission Vice-Chair Nancy Baraza will help push
the bill through the Attorney General's Office, the Ministry of Home
Affairs, and the Cabinet. Some people have argued that development
of the Action Plan should wait until after the bill is passed, but
we agree with activists that the problem is growing too fast to wait
on Kenya's dilatory Parliament. G-TIP's two $60,000 police training
projects should increase the justice system's understanding of and
capacity to implement an anti-TIP law and Action Plan through
increased prosecutions. Although the reported early starting date
and high goals of the Youth Ministry's reported plan to export young
workers are exaggerated and probably not attainable, the proposal
demonstrates the need for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to train
its staff on trafficking.


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