By Raisa Okwaras
Busia county is in the spotlight after reports show high rates of child abuse, including a 21 percent rate of teenage pregnancies, 3 percent higher than the national rate.
The County Chief of Staff Robert Opat revealed this during a meeting in Grand Swiss Hotel in Kisumu on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Officials had met here to draft the Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) policy. It was during this meeting that the worrying statistics of the county came out.
Other worrying statistics of the county include those of rape and sodomy. For instance, Matayos constituency is leading in rape cases followed by Nambale then Samia. The average number of cases of rape reported to the Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme (REEP) in the county was 3 every day. Burumba in Busia town recorded high rates of sodomy in the county.
According to Mr.Robert Opat, the high rates of child abuse can be attributed to the county’s close proximity to four counties and its neighboring four porous counties. It being a border town makes it a hotspot for child trafficking.
He also stated that the male gender is yet to take up the initiative to get involved in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence in Busia County.
While speaking during the meeting, the Busia County Children’s Officer Esther Wasige was worried by the high figures of child trafficking, with Busia recording 5 percent.
“The county is turning into an area of transit, destination, or origin of child trafficking. Our figures are much higher than the ones of the national government,” she stated while adding that the rates of cyberbullying of children in the country were also increasing.
With that, Busia County has partnered with lobby groups to draft an SGBV policy to fight these vices. For instance, the policy will help secure funds to rescue women and girls at risk of SGBV. In addition, they will provide a heavy investment towards sensitizing the locals and helping survivors report and get immediate medical assistance.