Child trafficking is a major global problem with a sizeable number of the victims ending up being used in commercial sex work.
This is a dire violation of the children’s right to parental care and denies them an opportunity to get an education and grow into responsible adults.
There is cause for alarm as child sex tourism has become rampant, especially in Mombasa and other coastal towns.
There are predators masquerading as tourists, who prey on young girls and even boys, exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases and the grave danger of contracting HIV.
There is also the trauma of children aged 12 to 18 left to fend for themselves on the beaches and who end up in the hands of the paedophiles.
According to researchers, Kenya, sadly, is one of the world’s hubs for child sex tourism.
This poses a major national challenge that calls for stringent measures and strict enforcement of the tough child protection laws enacted in recent years.
A National Crime Research Centre survey indicates that almost 200,000 children are trafficked every year in Kenya, mostly for the commercial sex industry. Some of them are recruited by criminal gangs.
In recent years, some of the children have ended up being recruited into terrorist groups, especially the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab.
They are exposed to situations that even adults would find difficult to cope with.
Denied their childhood, they turn into monsters who carry and detonate bombs or plant mines that blow up motor vehicles belonging to security personnel, killing innocent people.
While we welcome efforts to prevent criminals from recruiting children into the underworld, it is imprudent to reveal the measures against them — like the announcement that searches will soon be carried out at police roadblocks targeting child traffickers.