Two weeks ago detectives stormed a restaurant in Mombasa in what was described as a breakthrough in scuttling an international human-trafficking ring.
Twelve Nepalese girls were arrested in the raid at New Rangeela Bar and Restaurant in Nyali, owned by tycoon Asif Amirali Alibhai Jetha.
The girls are said to have been sneaked into the country through the porous Lunga-Lunga border with Tanzania.
Mr Jetha was found in possession of a UK and a Canadian passport. Coast region deputy police commandant Joseph Chebii said officers had intensified the crackdown on human trafficking.
“The proprietor of the restaurant has been living in Kenya for some time, but we are yet to establish how he got a Canadian passport, and if it is genuine. We are working with different security organs to unravel that,” said Mr Chebii. “We are warning those practising the crime to desist as they will not be spared.”
Nation investigations revealed that with Sh50,000, one can watch exotic Indian, Nepalese and Chinese dancers perform at exclusive clubs frequented by tycoons in Mombasa and Nairobi.
But if one wants more, they will have to part with Sh100,000.
Mr Paul Adhoch, the Trace Kenya executive director, said that girls are trafficked into the country as traditional dancers only to end up as sex slaves.
“When they come, their documents are confiscated and they are locked up in rooms where they perform exotic dances or sex,” the boss of the anti-people-trafficking NGO said.
“They bring in girls below 25 years, some are minors; they come to Kenya for greener pastures and most are illiterate,” he said.
Mr Adhoch said that most traffickers are foreigners, mainly Britons and Canadians.
Whenever the girls are arrested, he said, they plead guilty and are repatriated to their home countries.
“We have recorded 206 cases of human trafficking in Kenya, with only three convictions. Kenya is turning into a sex haven where foreigners thrive in the business,” he said.
On Friday, a Shanzu court fixed a hearing for Mr Jetha’s case in June. “We have supplied the suspect with all documents; we are ready to take a date for hearing of the case. We want the trial expedited,” prosecutor Shakwila Ayekha said.
Mr Jetha denied three counts of trafficking in persons, promoting human trafficking and interfering with travel documents. The case will be heard on May 15. The girls will be State witnesses.
Additional reporting by Agewa Magut