War on child prostitution targets hotels

Monday July 26 2010

By ANTHONY KITIMO [email protected]

A rights group has called for harsh penalties against hoteliers who allow their premises to be used for child prostitution.

The Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Rights of Children said that cases of child abuse at the Coast had been on the increase and there was need to put in place harsh penalties against the perpetrators.

The group’s coast regional coordinator, Ms Peggy Saka, said the move was not just aimed at stopping commercial sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector, but also to curb the menace of human trafficking.

“Those who are found promoting child abuse should be charged as per the Sexual Offences Act,” Ms Saka told the Nation in a telephone interview.

A campaign launched in 2007 in which hotels were required to sign a code of conduct to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation has been largely ignored.

Msambweni district commissioner Munzin Abdullatif, while addressing wananchi during recent celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, put the hotels on notice over the vice in their premises and warned that they risked having their licences withdrawn.

Mrs Abdullatif said the government was worried by the increasing number of children indulging in the illegal business in the area.

A recent report released by Unicef says 15,000 girls under the age of 18 are sexually exploited for cash.

More than 3,000 of them, the report adds, are engaged in full-time prostitution, having dropped out of school.