The Government has revamped the fight against online child abuse and sexual exploitation, with statistics showing that the vice is on the rise.
Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore said the Ministry has put in place a National Action Plan to tackle the vice, which she noted has been on the rise in the wake of technology advancements across the globe.
Speaking at Kusitawi Village Children’s home in Thika East during the celebrations to mark World Children’s Day, Bore said the Ministry has established a department under the Directorate of Children Services to implement online child protection services.
This comes as statistics show an increase in the number of teenage pregnancies in the country despite government warnings to eradicate the vice and punish offenders.
Data from the Kenya Health Information Systems shows that a total of 110,821 pregnancies were recorded among adolescents between the ages of 10 to 19 in the first five months of 2023.
From the data, 6,110 of the pregnancies were among adolescents aged between 10 to 14 years, while another 104,711 were between the ages of 15 and 19.
This is almost half of what was recorded in 2022 which stood at 260,734, 316,187 in 2021 and 331,549 in 2020.
“This has to stop. We have come up with stringent measures, and working closely with stakeholders and other partners, we believe we shall combat this vice,” she said.
The CS was accompanied by her Principal Secretary (PS) Joseph Motari and Thika MP Alice Ng’ ang’ a.
On violence against children, the CS raised concern that parents were still violating their children in one way or the other, especially during this long holiday.
According to the 2019 National Violence Against the child survey report, over 50 percent of children have faced at least one form of violence in their lives.
“The statistics are disheartening and we call on the children and other caregivers to report people threatening, harassing, abusing or punishing them through our hotline number,” she said.
On her part, Ng’ang’a called for a life sentence jail term for defilers, saying they deserved not to interact with other members of the society.
She said such a sentence will deter other sex pests from engaging in the vice.
During the event, the CS also launched ‘The transitioning and child welfare guidelines’ that is set to enhance transitioning of children in care homes with families and the community.