The government has been challenged to help tackle the human trafficking menace in Kenya by setting aside funds for training of Judiciary staff to prosecute such cases.
Kenya accounts for about 328,000 cases of human trafficking.
Speaking in Nairobi on Monday, Director of Judiciary Training Institute Kathurima M’Inoti pointed out that the prosecution of human trafficking cases in the country is slow pace as most judges, magistrates and prosecutors lack proper training in handling such cases.
Justice M’Inoti said prosecution of human trafficking cases is even more challenging because of the international angle and the many people involved hence the need for capacity building to ensure the cases are prosecuted and concluded expeditiously as the Constitution requires.
“There is general agreement that as a country, we have several cases both as source and origin of human trafficking and that explains why we are focusing on it. It affects the poor and the vulnerable,” said Mr M’Inoti.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day human trafficking and electronic evidence training workshop for over 50 Kenyan magistrates at Utalii Hotel.
The training has been organised by Attorney General Alliance-Africa Alliance Partnership (AGA-AAP) in collaboration with the Judiciary Training Institute and The British High Commission.
Mr M’Inoti said the training will see the magistrates get a better grasp of the legal framework that regulates human trafficking offences, international, national and various methods used in effective investigations and prosecutions of the offences as well as prevention methods.
“This is a follow-up to the training we had for our judges in September on cyber-crime and electronic evidence. This time we are focusing on magistrates many of whom are involved in trials of offences related to human trafficking,” he said.
On his part, AGA-AAP Board Member Markus Green said human trafficking – which is an organised crime involving the use of the victims for sex and labour – is a multi-billion shilling illegal industry.
According to the Global Slavery Index, there are about 40 million individuals currently enslaved in the vice, out of which about 71 percent of them are women and children.
Mr Green said the training seeks to arrest the problem by going after the traffickers, adding that an understanding of electronic evidence will help prosecutors make early detections because the purpose of trafficking is to obtain money, move and hide the money quickly using various forms of technology.
“In order to make those detections, you have to understand electronic evidence. So what we are trying to do is share the best practices including latest information in terms of changes in law and technology so that the magistrates and the judges can understand this vice better. Our aim is to protect the victims as well as deliver justice,” said Mr Green.
He said combating the vice faces challenges including complicit governments, the huge amounts of money involved which act as great an incentive for more people to get involved and advancement in technology which allows money to be moved and hidden quickly.
Mr Green lauded Kenya for implementing the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2010 that criminalises sex and labour trafficking and attracts a punishment of no less than 30 years imprisonment or a fine of not less than Sh30 million.
“These are our brothers and sisters who are being abused, mistreated, raped and in many instances tortured all for financial gains and we need to join together and put an end to it,” he said.