Kenya: Portal to curb online child sexual exploitation launched

Africa/Kenya/31-01-2021/Author: Christine Muchira/Source:

Directorate of Criminal Investigations – DCI in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has launched an Online Portal tailored for law enforcers to handle matters of online child sexual exploitation and Abuse, augmenting the existing children protection measures.

Kenya becomes the 44th country globally and 22nd in Africa to partner with the UK-based foundation, a non-governmental organization that works closely with, but independently from law enforcement agencies in pulling down online materials and content that expose children to sexual exploitation.

Whereas in all other countries IWF has been working with non-governmental institutions, the DCI Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit’s (AHTCPU) relentlessness in pursuing children rights violators and battling human traffickers won the admiration of the foundation.

“Once cases of online sexual abuse on children are reported at our offices or anonymously through the DCI hotline, and a link to any website authoring such content is shared, this portal will enable us to expedite the process of pulling down the unsuitable materials before  they cause more damage to our children.” Ms Mueni Mutisya-the In Charge AHTCPU.

While commending the DCI & IWF for the bold move, Lady Justice Martha Koome highlighted the need for immediate action by pulling down of any online child exploitative content, citing the need for review of the way to go about receiving evidence and prosecuting children related cases.

“You do not require any court order to pull down any material that exposes a child to sexual exploitation and abuse, whether copyrighted or not. The judicial system prioritizes what is done in the best interest of the child,” she said.

Adding that: What is done in the best interest of the child.”

While presenting his compliments to IWF and other stakeholders who pledged their continued cooperation in protecting children, the Director DCI represented by the Deputy Director-Investigation Bureau Mr. Carey Nyawinda reiterated that the DCI is committed to ensuring that children are safe in both the physical and virtual environments.

The virtually held launch was attended by, among other institutions, the National Crime Agency (NCA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Interpol and the Internet Service Providers.

Separately, detectives based in Makueni have launched a manhunt for a 31-year-old man suspected to have defiled and impregnated a school going child.

While at school, the 13-year-old pupil at Kathonzweni Holy Ghost Mission Primary had complained of abdominal pain, forcing the school’s administration to call upon the mother to take her to hospital.

The examination on her condition revealed that she was expectant, she thereafter disclosed to have been defiled by the suspect; Reuben Mutie of Kwa Kavisi location, who has since run into hiding.

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Teachers and pupils ‘molested’ in Cameroon attack

Africa/Cameroon/08-11-2020/Author and Source:

Gunmen have attacked a school in the coastal city of Limbe in south-west Cameroon.

A senior official at the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attackers forced students and teachers to undress before beating them up and molesting some of them.

They then set parts of the school building on fire.

The attackers, numbering about 20, stormed the school at about 8:00 local time on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses said the security force’s Rapid Intervention Battalion arrived at the scene after the attackers had fled.

Schools in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone regions have come under attack recently by unidentified gunmen. The government accuses separatist fighters of carrying out the attacks.

The latest attack comes barely 24 hours after gunmen kidnapped 11 teachers in a Presbyterian school in Kumbo city in the north-west.

The burial of the seven students killed in a secondary school in Kumba city in the south-west on 24 October is due to be held on Thursday.

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Kenya: Alarm as 4000 school girls get pregnant in Machakos since March

Africa/Kenya/21-06-2020/Author and Source:

Over 4000 school girls in Machakos County have been impregnated in last three months. Among these, 200 are under 14 years of age.

This is according to the County Children’s Officer Salome Muthama speaking on Tuesday during the celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child at Machakos Rescue Center in Katoloni, Machakos town.

Ms Muthama described the situation as worrying. She assured that legal action would be taken against those responsible for the beastly action. The Children’s officer blamed the long school holiday occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic for the upsurge and implored parents to take more responsibility over their children.

“As we celebrate this day here today, just within this Covid-19 period alone, some 4000 girls have been impregnated in our county!” Ms Muthama declared as she blamed parents for not taking keen interest in bringing up their children thus exposing them to the trickeries of wayward adults and bad peer influence.

“This is a very big number and I am calling upon parents to involve themselves fully in taking care of their children especially the girl child,” the officer added.

She noted that following the partial lockdown of major towns like Nairobi and Mombasa due to Covid-19 pandemic, most parents had sent their children to the rural areas where they are being taken care of by aged grandparents who are unable to take keen care of the youths.

“These helpless grandmothers are not able to closely watch over the youths, and as a result the young ones are introduced to bad habits or even molested by peers and other unscrupulous people thus leading to such calamities such as these pregnancies,” she observed.

She said it was not enough for the parents to send food and money from the towns for the children they had dumped at their own grandparents’ homes noting that it behooves them to stay with their children and mentor them.

“Parents should stay with their children so that they watch over them closely and provide appropriate guidance instead of dumping them at their grandparents’ homes claiming that they are protecting them from the Corona pandemic,” she noted.

At the same time Muthama urged those charged with the dispensation of justice to children to make deliberate efforts to eradicate delays in the process. She particularly called on the police to fast track cases involving children so that justice is dispensed with promptly and the children allowed to go on with building their lives.

She told those attending the celebrations whose theme was “Access to a child-friendly justice system in Africa” that delays in dispensation of justice to children amounted to denial of their rights.

“Cases involving children should take at most six months to resolve but here in Machakos some take up to two years or more,” she lamented.

Noting that delay of children’s cases amounted to a denial of their rights, she added, “Children attend court either as offenders, victims or witnesses, and every time a case drags, the children are being denied opportunity to either attend school or other matters that affect their future lives,” she noted.

The children’s officer similarly appealed to members of the society who are witnesses in cases involving children not to shy away from attending court, but come out and participate fully so that the cases are solved promptly.

And reacting to the shocking news, Machakos Women Representative Joyce Kasimbi condemned the wave of pregnancy among children and said local grassroots leaders should explain how it happened.

She said parliament would pass a law that will ensure that anybody who impregnates a child will be held responsible.

Similar sentiments were expressed by two DCI officers who warned of dire consequences.

Speaking when they joined children of at  Mwisoo Children’s home in Kyawango, Maau-eli in Mwala, to celebrate the Day, Machakos Sub County DCI boss Rhoda Kanyi and her Mwala counterpart Catherine Kinoti said the law will be brought to bear on those found molesting minors.

“Men who sleep with minors must be warned that the law will definitely catch up with you,” they warned.

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New US campus sex assault plan gets pushback

North America/United States/10-05-2020/Author and Source:

US universities must hold hearings on campus sexual assault claims where alleged victims and attackers can be cross-examined, according to federal guidelines.

The mandate is part of a new set of US Department of Education rules on how places of learning must handle sexual misconduct cases.

The agency said the rules will ensure fairness to accusers and accused.

Critics said they will discourage victims from reporting attacks.

The new policy, issued on Wednesday following an 18-month review, limits what complaints private and public universities are obliged to investigate and raises the burden for holding a school liable for sexual assault.

They have until August to comply with the rules, which are a marked shift for addressing how universities enforce Title IX, the federal law barring discrimination in education based on gender.

The previous administration had sought to expand university responsibility for sexual misconduct on campuses under Title IX.

Under the Trump administration rules, the institutions are required to provide a live hearing and allow advisers to cross-question parties and witnesses involved – a practice discouraged by the previous administration.

In announcing the policy, Betsey DeVos, the education secretary, said: «Too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

«This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process.»

Some initial rules to limit schools’ liabilities and apply the requirement for hearings to secondary school pupils Ms DeVos proposed in November 2018 were scrapped amid dissent from victims’ groups.

However, advocacy groups said the final policy cut back on victims’ rights.

Fatima Graves of the National Women’s Law Center told the New York Times that «if this rule goes into effect, survivors will be denied their civil rights and will get the message loud and clear that there is no point in reporting assault».

The group will challenge the rules in court, Ms Graves said.

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Kenya: Over 100 vulnerable children are sexually abused annually

Africa/Kenya/08-03-2020/Author: KNA/Source:

At least 150 children living with disability are sexually abused in Trans Nzoia County every year, according to research carried out by a local NGO, Human Inclusion International organization.

The report says children with mental impairment are worst affected.

Human Inclusion International project officer Janet Nyangweso sexual violence is three times more among vulnerable children.

She notes that Tuwan slums in Trans Nzoia West, Endebess sub-county and Trans Nzoia East sub-county lead in defilement cases.

Under the Ubuntu care programme the organization she says offers protection for vulnerable children but notes the challenge in apprehending and prosecution of offenders.

She called for cooperation between local administrators including chiefs, the police and the judiciary in delivering justice for the innocent children.

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MeToo-style sexual abuse rampant across North Korea

By: Andrew Salmon.

Human Rights Watch details pervasive rape culture, but says it could be easily fixed – and slams Seoul for ignoring human rights as it engages regime

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How important is education to girls across the globe?

By: Mduduzi Mbiza /04-07-2018

Throughout the world, there are many young women in unsafe relationships, some in unhappy marriages, who don’t see a way out.

Women feel trapped

For many of these young girls, leaving is not an option. Why? Because they don’t have the skills and the education to gain them access to work and to be independent.

UNESCO estimates that 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school, adding that 15 million girls of primary school age will never witness a classroom – half of them coming from sub-Saharan Africa.

If we want to understand what educated women can do, we need to go back in time, back to ancient times – a time where we see that men are not the only ones who mattered.

Strong female role models

Going back to the history around the ancient times, you would probably read about the likes of Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. If you fast-forward in time, you would come across the Suffragettes – these were members of women’s organisations which advocated the right for women to vote in public elections.

Who could forget Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was Africa’s first elected female head of state? You would agree that setting aside her political challenges, she crushed the myth that women cannot be leaders and this inspired a lot of women.

The link between education and sexual abuse

We should be very concerned when a young girl in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually abused than to attend high school – some of these young girls may never discover their dreams.

In an article titled Girls’ Education, the World Bank stated:

“Child marriage is also a critical challenge. Child brides are much more likely to drop out of school and complete fewer years of education than their peers who marry later. This affects the education and health of their children, as well as their ability to earn a living.

According to a recent report, more than 41,000 girls under the age of 18 marry every day and putting an end to the practice would increase women’s expected educational attainment, and with it, their potential earnings. According to estimates, ending child marriage could generate more than $500 billion in benefits annually each year.”

When young girls are educated, they have control over their future; no older man will try to take advantage of them. Have you ever asked yourself why most child marriages or forced marriages happen in the rural areas? Because many of the families there are in poverty – educating young girls would save these families.

Ensuring that young girls are in school will be working towards gender equality and reducing inequality. Young girls in South Africa are victims of violence and teenage pregnancy, just to name a few – the very same things that keep them away from school, from education. It is thus imperative that when young girls can’t come to school due to these reasons, education can go to them.

Joseph Stalin once said:

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and whom it is aimed.”

I certainly believe that South Africa and the rest of the world can use this weapon to save young girls. Education empowers females to take control of their lives and their families, especially in Africa where young girls are already disadvantaged from birth and are faced with daunting situations that are beyond their ability.


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