Would you allow a foreigner to take your daughter on a week long holiday without your presence? Or even your boy for that matter?
Of course, most rational parents would not accept this. Unfortunately, poverty is driving Kenyan parents into turning a blind eye as foreigners sponsoring their children’s education turn the young ones into sex objects.
Investigations by the Nairobi Chronicle have revealed that Kenya is awash with all kinds of characters offering education sponsorship to children from needy families. The foreigners come in the guise of churches, non-governmental organizations, philanthropic groups or simply interested tourists.
Education and household sponsorships by foreigners are highest in Nyanza, Nairobi and Coast provinces. In Nyanza, the huge number of HIV/Aids orphans presents easy prey for sex pests. In the slums of Nairobi and the fishing villages of the Coast, poverty is the main culprit behind the sad tales.
It is believed that there are hundreds of thousands of children in Nyanza province who have lost their parents and close relatives to HIV/Aids. The situation is so bad that in some villages, only elderly people and children are left as all the able bodied persons lie in graves. Some of the children have undergone double tragedies after the relatives who adopted them also died of AIDS.
With nowhere else to go, these children turn to the church for assistance. Mainstream churches, such as the Catholic Church, Anglican and Seventh Day usually have established systems for assisting children with education. It is the smaller Christian denominations that present an opening for child exploitation because these churches are completely dependent on foreign funding.
The pastor will write an appeal for funds to assist orphans with food, clothes and education. Not surprisingly, the appeal is heeded and the money begins to flow. The church finds accommodation for the children either by placing them in local homes or by putting up structures with the money. With time, the ‘donors’ express their intention to visit Kenya and see how their money is being utilized. This is where problems begin.
Foreign sponsors come mostly from Europe and North America. A few of the sponsors may be wealthy individuals from other African countries, including Nigeria and South Africa. Affluent Kenyans have not been left behind either.
The Nairobi Chronicle is not in any way implying that all sponsors are paedophiles. We are just drawing attention to the fact that people are getting access to children without any vetting taking place.
Once the foreigners come to Kenya they have unfettered access to the children. They take them along for trips without a relative or church official accompanying the child for supervisory purposes.
Its not only orphans who are being exploited. The children of poor parents are suffering as well, as the Nairobi Chronicle found out. Once the sponsorship deal is sealed, its only a matter of time before parents are convinced to let their children accompany the sponsors on trips. There’s really no telling what happens during those trips, some of which can last the entire duration of a school holiday.
It is not as though the parents don’t know whatever is going on. Only the very naïve can assume that a middle aged tourist can drive a 14 year old girl 400 kilometres to Nairobi and back, without anything strange happening. Parents are keeping quiet for fear of losing the sponsorship, and hence losing the opportunity to educate their children. The fact that some of these sponsors finance household expenses makes matters very tricky for desperate parents.
A special case from South Nyanza has been brought to the attention of the Nairobi Chronicle: A sponsor from the United States has financed the education of a certain girl from primary school level, through high school and upto University. The sponsor visits every year with gifts for the family. He has visited the girl at every school she has attended and takes her on holiday whenever he comes to Kenya.
With the girl now in University, the American sponsor is visiting her at campus hostels in a powerful 4×4 vehicle. He takes her out, sometimes returning at late hours. More perplexing is the willingness of the young lady to leave classes whenever her benefactor calls for a meeting in town. It is said the woman had an African fiancée but he pulled out because of the unusual circumstances.
In Nairobi, some parents have become so good at finding sponsors that they have a different sponsor for each of their children. However, the sponsorship comes at a price. Sooner or later, the donor will offer to take the children out on holiday after giving the parents an irresistible cash hand out. In some cases, the sponsors take the children back to their countries for, “quality education.”
At the Kenyan Coast, entrenched poverty is pushing parents into seeking foreigners to sponsor their children. At the coast, getting foreign sponsorship is not difficult due to the tourism industry. Modern tourists want to do much more than watching animals, instead, they want to make a difference in the life of an African family. Amidst this noble cause, sex pests have seen an opportunity to satisfy their evil desires.
Like in the case of Nyanza and Nairobi provinces, the sex predator will develop a relationship with the family by providing educational assistance for the children and cash handouts for the unemployed parents. Sooner or later, the sponsor will ask to take the child out for holiday or for further education overseas. Usually, the parents will be too poor to refuse even if they suspect that something is about to happen to their precious child. The family simply cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds them.
An exceedingly moving case was reported in a Kenyan newspaper a couple of years ago. A local woman was found sitting in the lobby of a tourist class hotel. Of course, villagers are not normally found enjoying such luxuries and the hotel staff began inquiries concerning her presence. What they discovered shocked them beyond measure.
The woman had brought her small daughter to visit a foreign sponsor in his hotel room. The woman was waiting for her daughter to finish her “business.” She knew exactly what was going on and she was facilitating the vice.
The Kenyan government seems totally unaware of the ongoing destruction of our children’s morality. Foreign sponsors have learnt to cultivate cordial working relationships with local political and church leaders who even find needy families for them. Many small churches are financed by the same individuals targeting the children of the poor.
The result is the development of a traumatized generation of young people who have been physically, psychologically and emotionally ravaged by involvement in disgusting sex practices. At the Kenya Coast, for example, it is a well known fact that children from poor rural homesteads are getting lured into child pornography. Police officers have captured video tapes and digital photos to prove that the situation is really bad.
These children will never know what a normal, loving sexual relationship is all about. Their introduction to sex was abusive and when they grow up, they will become abusers. Its hardly surprising that cases of rape, incest, group orgies and sex-with-animals are increasing in the country.
The sad bit is that some Kenyan parents are willing to sacrifice their children’s bodies for money. It makes one wonder why they bother having children in the first place if they are not willing – or able – to raise them.