780 Children in Kenya Went Missing Between 2016 and 2020

July 18, 2022

It is estimated that some 8 million children go missing around the world each year. This is devastating to the parents of the missing children as they are left with depression, stress, and fear. Some parents may find their children alive or dead while others may never get to hear from their children again.

From 2016 to 2020, a total of 780 children were reported missing in Kenya. Of those, 496 were found and reunited with their loved ones, 73 were taken to government-run children’s homes, 21 were found dead and 190 were still missing.

In addition, the number still increases daily as pictures of missing children are posted in various social media platforms.

However, as social media continues to be of help, it is also a major cause of increase in missing children, teenagers especially. For young girls and boys, they are lured into a luxurious future and parties only for them to be kidnapped and trafficked into sex slavery.

These children may be trafficked to various countries far from their motherland. There some traffickers prevent them from escaping through giving them basic needs such as food, water and clothing in return they pay them daily. As some of the victims may not know where to start looking for a job, they are directly introduced to prostitution.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations ( DCI ) caution parents to monitor how their children use social media and the people they interact with.

For younger children, some of them go missing through being lured by sweets or delicious meals. Some kidnappers may disguise themselves to look innocent and may try to interact with the child before doing the harmful act.

Nevertheless, some children go missing because of various gender based violence acts such as rape, forced marriage, sexual assault, physical assault, emotional abuse and denial of resources or opportunities or services. Especially if they are facing some of these gender based violence at home environment or school environment they may escape to try and find a better place.

Not only may gender based violence increase the number of missing children, but also increase in intake of drug substances such as bhang, miraa and alcohol. This is because some of these children may be afraid of their parents thus making them run away from home. This leading to an increase in a number of street children in major towns.

Parents and guardians should report to the police if they find out their child is missing. Also, they should try and post pictures of their children on various social media platforms with the help of Missing Child of Kenya. As Missing Child of Kenya is a community-led portal that works with organizations and individuals in the child protection sector and the public to help share information on missing children using various media platforms and increase search efforts at no cost to the affected families.

This is to help them reach more people and prevent them from con artists who may lie to them that their children have been found or kidnapped. Thus conning them of huge sums of money.

Society should try and ensure the safety of their children by protecting their children and also their neighbors’ children. This may be through protecting them from getting into close contact with strangers. Parents should also warn their children from talking to strangers.

By Eddah Waithaka

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