About 500 Kenyan girls face arrest in India in a crackdown on illegal immigrants. They are among the many young African women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Many go overseas every year in search of greener pastures only to land in the grip of criminal rings.
In recent years, the focus has been on the Kenyans recruited as domestic workers in the Middle East, and who find themselves literally enslaved. Indeed, some of the employers seize the foreigners’ passports and other identification documents and subject them to horrific conditions.
The Indian government’s swoop targets foreigners without proper documents, who have been in the country since January 2011. Some are victims of online rackets run by crooked people they had never met before. The illicit recruitment revolves around promises of enticing packages to lure them to sign up. Once there, the helpless women realise that they are at the mercy of shadowy characters who abet their misery.
Many recruits discover, to their chagrin, that the jobs they had been promised are not there. One of the girls says that all she wanted was a better life for herself and to be able to provide for her family. She got nothing of the sort, instead ending up as a sex worker. She is even scared of seeking help at the Kenyan High Commission in New Delhi, fearing the repercussions from the traffickers. However, High Commissioner Willy Bett is encouraging Kenyans who are living in India illegally to get in touch with the mission for assistance.
Like many other crimes, the online system that easily enables racketeers to reach their targets with attractive offers compounds the problem. As the authorities crack down on illegal recruiting agents, there is a need to sensitise the youth on the danger that lurks out there.
In addition, parents must not expect others to do everything for them. They must monitor their children and co-operate with the authorities to prevent human trafficking.