[Stop-traffic] News/Kenya: Human Trade Ring Smashed

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Kenya: Human Trade Ring Smashed
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 11:22:53 EST


                         Human Trade Ring Smashed

OTC 17/Jan/01 3:59 PM

  Nairobi (The Nation, January 17, 2001) - A Sudanese has been arrested over
the smuggling of Kenyans to Saudi Arabia.
    He is alleged to have airlifted hundreds of Kenyans to the Middle East
to work in dubious jobs.
    Detectives on Monday raided his offices in the city centre and impounded
20 Kenyan passports and dozens of job applications.
    The head of the Special Crime Prevention Unit, Mr. Peter Kavila,
confirmed they were also holding four other Sudanese, two Eritreans and a
Yemeni suspected to be linked to major international drug syndicates.
    The suspects are being detained at the Gigiri Police Station, Nairobi.
    Most of the Kenyan passports used by the illegal immigrants are forged.
Jobseekers are promised low-income employment as drivers, gardeners and
househelps.
    Trafficking in human beings is banned worldwide by the United Nations.
    Police are consulting with the Ministry of Labour to establish under
what circumstances the Sudanese operated the illegal trade in Kenya.
    "The racket appears to be elaborate since they use forged Kenyan
passports. We are also trying to establish how the documents were
acquired," Mr. Kavila said.
    It is not known how much each immigrant paid. Most of the foreigners
have two or three passports which they used to fly in and out of Kenya.
    The suspected drug traffickers were arrested from houses in the South
'B' and Kilimani areas in Nairobi.
    Mr. Kavila said some of the foreigners were fugitives who had fled their
countries after being involved in criminal activities.
    Kenya police have contacted Interpol to establish the crimes they had
committed and arrange for their deportation.
    A report tabled at an international conference on transnational crime
held in Palermo, Italy, on December 1 said thousands of men, women and
children were paying huge sums to be transported to other countries
illegally.
    "They end up being forced to work in prostitution or engage in other
criminal activities in the country of destination," the report said.
    In the United States, for instance, at least 100,000 illegal immigrants
work as prostitutes.
    Some 40,000 to 50,000 Thai women are earning their living as sex workers
in Japan.
    The report said that once enslaved, the women are beaten and raped
before being traded from one master or brothel owner to another.
    It says that sexual slavery is a highly lucrative global industry
controlled by powerful criminal organisations. The cartels amass an
estimated $7 billion a year while making use of electronic technology to
expand their network in developed and developing nations, the report
concludes.
    Advertisements for fake foreign jobs have in recent years flooded local
newspapers.
    A number of people have previously been charged in court with operating
fake employment bureaus.
    In a related incident, four men who allegedly abducted three sisters six
years ago were arrested in Nairobi yesterday.
    The four, said to be a bishop and three priests of an evangelical
church, allegedly kidnapped the girls from their home in Nyandarua District
and brought them to the city.
    Yesterday, the girls' mother led officers from the Ruaraka Police
Station to the church in Kariobangi and arrested them.
    Police said the girls could still recognise their mother after being
separated for six years.
    Meanwhile, police have arrested four people and seized 129 stones of
bhang in an ambush in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
    "We laid an ambush after we got information that some people were
ferrying bhang. We arrested the suspects and impounded their Toyota
Corolla," Mr. Kavila said.
    Mr. Kavila said the foreigners and the bhang suspects are still being
interrogated and a decision on when they will appear in court has not been
made.
    By Stephen Muiruri
    Copyright 2001 The Nation. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media
(allAfrica.com).
             -0-

        Copyright 2001
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