Usually, our regular reports tend to be about what we have been doing recently. This one is a little different.as we want to focus on why we are so concerned about getting children off the streets - and not just children - entire street families.
Over a year ago, we expressed concern to the authorities about reports of missing children. It appears that similar reports have been made in bigger towns like Nairobi too. Enough concern has been expressed nationwide for journalists to get involved and the BBC Africa Eye have released a documentary called Teh Baby Stealers about babies and young children being taken from street families and mothers living on the streets. This highlights a child trafficking issue that should terrify all of us. The documentary from BBC Africa Eye can be found on You Tube and the link is below.
So often, a woman living on the street going into a police station and reporting a missing child is not treated with the same respect as a woman coming from a 'real' home. It is assumed there must be something wrong with her if she is living on the street - perhaps she has mental issues or she is a prostitute - and she is often met with derision or anger. She is often scared to report the case as she will become the number one suspect and it will be assumed that because she is in financial need she probably either sold the child herself or it died or she killed it or she may not have any paperwork to prove there even was a child. Street mothers are marginalised and do not get much sympathy. In rare cases, someone might take her aside and find out the reasons she is on the street and, in doing so, discover that she is a perfectly good mother who has fallen on hard times. The majority of mothers on the streets are there because they are from backgrounds of abject poverty and have no choice. They may have moved from areas of drought or famine to seek work in towns. They may be running from an abusive relationship. They may have been raped. They do not deserve to lose their children just because they are poor and may already have lost their home.
Young children stolen by traffickers may be lucky enough to be placed in a wealthy household where they are a wanted baby. However, it is just as likely that they are being used for sacrificial rites or organ harvesting and, in the case of older children, the sex trade.
Child trafficking is a worldwide concern and there is a lot of money involved and often bribes ensure that those who should be helping prevent the problem simply turn a blind eye - or think a child is better off with its buyer than living on the streets. The amount of money Anita in this documentary was being offered for one child is the equivalent of 3 months wages for a teacher in Kenya.
There is an urgent need to get mother and child off the streets so they can be together in safety. That is what we try to do every day - to reintegrate families, to keep families together and to keep them from lives on the streets of town where they face danger every day and every night. We aim to help them get employment and keep a roof over their heads and to be able to lock their door at night knowing their children are safe in their beds. Help us please.