3 November 2010


A recently completed study by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) into human trafficking trends in East Africa has named the capitals of Kenya and Tanzania as the region's main magnet for children and adults tricked into exploitative labour including prostitution.

The main countries of origin of victims were identified as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Congo Kinshasa (DRC).

 In Kenya, the study found evidence of Rwandan, Tanzanian and Ugandan victims of trafficking, including children, working in Nairobi as domestic labourers, in the commercial sex and hospitality sectors, and in the agricultural sector in various locations around the country.

In Tanzania, the IOM researchers found evidence of child trafficking from Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda for sexual exploitation, fishing, domestic servitude and agricultural labour. Adult victims of trafficking into Tanzania were mainly identified in the domestic sector, as well as the mining, agricultural and hospitality industries. But while Ugandan children are trafficked to all the countries in the region, Uganda was also registered as a destination for trafficked victims from Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. In addition, instability in eastern Congo was found to be fuelling the influx of trafficked children to Uganda.

Although information on Rwanda was scant, the country was identified as a source for victims destined for Italy, Norway and the Netherlands as well as for child victims destined for Nairobi and the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa as domestic workers and for sexual exploitation.

The results of the study were presented at a Nairobi workshop to senior East African government officials, civil society groups and international experts. Participants called for the implementation of a region-wide 116 emergency number - an internationally recognised hotline number for trafficked children, which is currently in use in Kenya.

Meanwhile despite the evidence that its hotels could be used for the sale of trafficked children, the Hilton Hotel group had resisted calls to sign the ECPAT Code of Conduct which aims to raise awareness and to take practical measures against children being sexually abused within the tourism and travel industry.

In response to the publicity generated over its stance, including an online petition organized by Avaaz Hilton has announced that following discussions with ECPAT it will roll out a code of conduct for preventing child trafficking at its hotels by the end of the year.

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