Kenya is increasing security at children’s homes and hospitals after three medical officers were charged Wednesday with child trafficking.
The arrests followed a report by the BBC that found babies were stolen from illegal clinics and a Nairobi hospital and sold for hundreds of dollars each.
Kenyan police spokesperson, Charles Owino, said the child trafficking group involved collusion between medical workers at hospitals and children’s homes.
After a court charged three medical workers with stealing and trafficking children, he said security was stepped up.
“And (the) inspector general has given clear instructions to county commanders in other parts of the country to ensure that they work together with the multi-agencies, other government organs, and monitor children’s homes and government hospitals, and (the) operation of these children’s homes, so that we can be able to put them to accountability and to ensure that we protect children from trafficking,” Mr Owino said.
The court ordered the three suspects to be held for 10 days to allow the prosecution time to gather more evidence.
The chairman of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, Peterson Wachira, said it’s shameful that medical officers might have been involved. He called for tighter security to prevent child trafficking.
“Of course, the hospitals should have measures to ensure that the children are more secure,” he said. “I don’t know if that will mean having CCTV coverage. But I know the biggest percentage of medics are people who are genuine, people who respect their oaths, and people who are not able to do that.”
The daughter of 47-year-old Everlyne Ndimuli went missing two years ago in Nairobi.
Ms Ndimuli said she thinks her child was stolen because she was old enough to go to school and come back home safely, but instead she disappeared.
Missing Children, a Kenyan group that helps parents locate lost children, says 215 children went missing in 2019. Less than half were reunited with their families.