Understanding the Underlying Factors of Missing Children Cases in Kenya

March 13, 2024

Missing Child Kenya (MCK) has released a report with alarming insights into the growing number of cases of missing children throughout Kenya. The report highlights the need of addressing underlying issues contributing to the issue and is based on casework files handled by MCK.

As per the report, a significant number of cases involving missing children are related to runaways, who typically escape from homes that are abusive or too demanding. A number of factors are identified as major catalysts that cause children to try to flee, including family conflicts, coercion, academic pressure, and physical, sexual, and psychic abuse.

The coercion of teenage girls by adult males into forming relationships and then fleeing their homes is one concerning pattern noted in the report. The process of grooming, which frequently involves gifts and promises to meet financial needs, highlights how easily young girls can be taken advantage of.

The report further emphasizes the difficulties encountered by different agencies when looking into cases of missing children, noting reporting delays and complex investigative procedures. This emphasizes how state government, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, and communities must work together more closely to address the problem.

Nairobi is found to be the most frequently reported county in which cases of missing children are reported, however, this does not mean that other counties are free from the issue. Expanding efforts to reach these communities is important because access to information in marginalized areas continues to be a major barrier.

Missing Child Kenya expects more cases to come in throughout the year, so this report is only an indicator that will be further examined in the combined final report. There is a continuous effort to build and fortify social, governmental, and community networks in order to enable proactive intervention in cases of missing children.

Given these results, it is important that all parties involved put children’s safety and wellbeing first, deal with the root causes of their disappearance, and cooperate to make sure they return home safely.

This is a call to action for coordinated efforts to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens and stop additional child disappearance cases.

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