Kenya moved a step closer to enacting a law against human trafficking when MPs passed a Bill to fight the trade.
The Counter-Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2010, sponsored by Ms Millie Odhiambo (ODM, Nominated) gained unanimous support from MPs.
It will now return to the House for the Third and Final Reading to be scrutinised clause by clause. It will then await presidential assent.
During debate, MPs welcomed the proposed law, saying it would help guard against the crimes affecting Kenyans, especially girls and children.
The MPs also expressed concern about the magnitude of human trafficking. Ms Odhiambo said that apart from outlawing human trade, the proposed law would also protect the victims.
The Bill will establish a trust fund and an advisory committee that will help come up with programmes for rehabilitation of victims, said the MP.
Hundreds of children have been subjected to trafficking and been shipped out. Underage children are also being forced to work as house helps, an issue that the Bill will address by imposing punitive penalties.
Gender and Children Affairs minister Esther Murugi said the law was long overdue. “This law will also help deal with children’s homes that are involved in selling the youngsters abroad,” she said.
The Bill defines human trafficking as exploitation of a person by keeping them against his will, subjecting a person to practices similar to slavery. Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang’ula said the Bill should also deal with adoption of Kenyan children by foreigners.
Tourism assistant minister Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes, PNU) wanted the penalty enhanced. According to the proposed law, a person will be fined Sh5 million or be locked up for 15 years for contravening its provisions.
Reported by Oliver Mathenge and Caroline Wafula