special unit to fight sexual exploitation and abuse of children. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The officers have already received training on victim and witness interrogation, collection and preservation of evidence and law.
DCI director Ndegwa Muhoro said that the unit was the first in Africa and that the officers had also been rained on how to detect abused children.
About 176 children have been saved and taken away from harmful situations and the unit is currently pursuing 15 cases against child sex offenders.
By ANGIRA ZADOCK
Kenyan Police have launched the first ever special unit to fight sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
The unit, expected to identify main threats and protect vulnerable children, has officers drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) who will be working closely with the UK, specialist doctors and civil society experts such as the International Justice Mission (IJM).
The officers have already received training on victim and witness interrogation, collection and preservation of evidence and law, organised by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), to build investigative and safeguarding capabilities.
DCI director Ndegwa Muhoro said that the unit was the first in Africa and that the officers had also been trained on how to detect abused children.
He warned that some teachers were targeting children for sexual exploitation and said: “We will also work closely with our colleagues in the education sector and prosecutors to ensure that our children are safe.”
Already, about 176 children have been saved and taken away from harmful situations and the unit is currently pursuing 15 cases against child sex offenders.
Mr Muhoro said that the police will be working closely with the NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre .
On Monday evening, police and the NCA officially launched the special unit at British High Commissioner Nic Hailey’s residence in Muthaiga.
The launch was also attended by anti-FGM board chairperson Lina Jebii Kilimo and the head of the task force on children’s matters, Justice Martha Koome.
Mr Hailey said that the UK had been supporting programmes aimed at protecting children from abuse.
“Our responsibility to protect children from abuse does not stop at the borders of the United Kingdom. I applaud the pivotal role of the NCA in working with Kenyan and other law enforcement agencies to safeguard children and prosecute offenders, wherever they are located,” he said.
In January last year, Kenya became the 74th country to sign the International Child Protection Certificate.
As a result, Britons seeking to work in orphanages, schools and charitable organisations which work directly with young people are supposed to be cleared by the UK police to reduce the risk of employing child sex offenders.
Both the UK and the police warned that some UK nationals would secure paid or voluntary employment in other country in order to gain access to, groom and sexually abuse children.
However, many of these individuals were later found to have previous convictions or intelligence held about them.