17 Oct 2016
Kenya’s first police unit dedicated to fighting child sexual exploitation and abuse was officially launched in Nairobi today with support from the National Crime Agency.
Comprising 12 officers from the National Police Service of Kenya, as well as a member of children’s services, the unit, which has been operational since April, has already been instrumental in safeguarding 150 children.
It is pursuing 15 cases against child sex offenders, working closely with children’s services, prosecutors, specialist doctors and the human rights organisation International Justice Mission (IJM).
The NCA’s International Liaison Officers and CEOP Command have provided training, equipment and financial assistance to the Child Protection Unit (CPU) as part of a three-year collaboration between the NPS and the NCA, with support from the UK Government.
Kenya is one of many international sources of indecent images of children viewed and shared by UK offenders and a potential destination for UK nationals hoping to avoid detection by offending abroad.
The NCA will continue to work with the NPS to help it establish a self-sufficient multi-agency unit, laying the ground for similar CPUs to be set up across Kenya.
Simon Mason, of the NCA's CEOP command, said: “Indecent images of children produced in Kenya are viewed and shared in the UK and there have been cases of UK nationals going to Kenya to abuse vulnerable children. International cooperation protects vulnerable children and reduces opportunities for offenders.”
Superintendent of Police Grace Ndirangu, the CPU’s chief officer, said: “The Child Protection Unit changes the way we protect children from sex offenders in Kenya. We’re working across agencies to detect abuse, then investigate and prosecute offenders while ensuring the child’s welfare is at the centre of everything we do.”
Claire Wilkinson, the Kenya Director of IJM, said: “IJM is dedicated to building effective policing in Kenya. This unit offers highly effective protection for children and accountability for the perpetrators of violence against them.”
The launch event, held at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Nairobi, was attended by British High Commissioner Nic Hailey, Umazi Malingi of the International Justice Mission, Director of Kenyan CID Ndegwa Muhoro and Simon Mason of the National Crime Agency.