Human Trafficking

August 3, 2021

Humans beings being auctioned like goods on sale. Physical abuse, children paying the ultimate price of human trafficking. This is the fate of Karamojong girls coming from Eastern Uganda into Kenya; young girls being trafficked for cheap labor. The claws of poverty have been breathing life into domestic servitude. This is modern day slavery. Poverty alone does not necessarily create vulnerability to trafficking. It is coupled with other factors like lack of education, lack of jobs, broken families. This pushes up the risk of trafficking, and women and young girls are the most affected.


The girls live in misery in Kenya, yet what they are promised as they are lured from their country, is a far cry from the truth. What will become their day-to-day realities, is instead, a living nightmare.

The same fate has befallen those Kenyans who have migrated to the Middle East looking for greener pastures, only to end up in misery. The girls being trafficked are from 10-18 years. Some already have children and depart with their babies as they have no one to leave them with, worsening the situation as the young mothers now have to fend for both themselves ‘and’ their children in extremely dire circumstances. Most of the girls sleep on the streets after they arrive, realizing too late that they have been duped.

Most households in Kenya have underage girls working as domestic workers, preferring the girls from Karamojong because they can easily exploit them by paying low wages. The traffickers arrange to link the girls with potential employers. Those who get lucky find jobs, and those who do not get jobs have to wait. They are left out in the cold, vulnerable and desperate. Men also target the girls; they look for those who do not get jobs, mostly targeting the young ones. They buy them food, in the hope of luring them for sexual exploitation. Some of the brave girls will hurdle together and refuse to be separated, realizing there is safety in numbers, especially at night. Once every week, they will again converge at the meeting point hoping to be linked up to employers by the middlemen. This happens week after week- their goal to obtain work to ease up the burden of poverty on their families back home in Uganda.

As if these facts are not bad enough, the Kenyan police also target the girls to bust the assailants. They raid the meeting points and arrest the girls hoping to get information about the traffickers. As the girls run away from law enforcement, many are injured in the process, and those with babies suffer most. In one swoop, the police will arrest over a hundred girls, most of them underage. Strangely, despite it all, the girls are often not ready to go back home. Though they are not well paid when they get jobs, they feel fortunate, nonetheless, to be given accommodation and food, which is sadly, a better life than they have at home.

There is a town in Uganda known as Soroti. On the market day as people are bringing farm produce and other wares for sale, human beings are also being purchased as merchandise. Young girls between the ages of 8 and 18 years are on display, literally. Two young girls can be bought for less than Kshs 1,300 ($13), the price of a goat in the market would be three times more. The girls are then loaded onto buses, some are used as beggars on the streets in Kampala and others transported to Nairobi to become domestic workers.

Valvisions intends to at least try to get in touch with some of these girls. We know the area where they converge, and hopefully, we can provide them with sanitary towels and masks.

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