The government has banned the adoption of Kenyan children by foreigners.
The decision was arrived at during a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi on Thursday.
The licences of those involved in inter-country adoptions were revoked with immediate effect.
“The decision has been informed by Kenya’s ranking by the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014 that cited Kenya as a source, transit and destination country in human trafficking,” said a Cabinet memo sent to newsrooms.
The country is also ranked at Tier 2 Watchlist for non-compliance with minimum standards for elimination of trafficking, based on the 2014 US State Department report on trafficking in persons.
“Currently, Kenyan laws do not define child sale, child procuring, child trade and child laundering as part of trafficking,” said the memo.
The Cabinet said this had in effect put Kenyan children at high risk.
“This has created a loophole for fraudulent vested interests, masquerading through ownership of children's homes, adoption agencies and legal firms representing children, and adopters, to engage in the unscrupulous business of human trafficking under the guise of charity,” the Cabinet said.
A report released in August by Cradle, a child rights organisation, indicates that children as young as two were victims of trafficking for illegal adoption.
However, according to the organisation, prosecution of culprits has remained elusive since investigations were not being conducted by the relevant state agencies.
A 19-year-old missionary from Oklahoma was recently charged in a US court for sexually abusing children in an orphanage in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, the government is considering allocating additional funds to the Uwezo Fund in the next financial year to accommodate the huge number of youths and women interested in the assistance the fund provides.