A New law signed into law by President Kibaki promises to offer support and compensation to victims of trafficking including university gay men and bisexuals who were lured into sex slavery to Arab countries with promises of jobs.
The Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act, which was signed into law by the President more than 18 months ago, came into force after a non-governmental organisation, Cradle, went to court demanding its introduction.
Identity Kenya was the first to shed new light on the nation’s clandestine gay and bisexual male population, members of which are being lured into Arab Gulf-based trafficking rings where they end up as sex slaves for the wealthy.
As reported by Identity Kenya Magazine December 2011 issue, many gay and bisexual men from university campuses — particularly from Kenyatta University — have been transported to labor as sex workers for men in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Gender, Children and Social Development minister Naomi Shaban put the Act into effect after sharp criticism of the country’s weak human trafficking laws in the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report released by the US.
The report says the country is a transit point and destination for human trafficking, with women and children especially being subjected to forced labour and sex exploitation.
“In 2011, gay and bisexual Kenyan men recounted being lured from universities with promises of overseas jobs, only to be forced into prostitution in Qatar.”
Cracking down on the practice is made more difficult given the destination countries such as Qatar, which reportedly remains on the U.S. Department of State watch lists for showing no progress in identifying victims of trafficking, lack appropriate legislation.
A gay man familiar with the LGBT community in the United Arab Emirates who identified himself only as Mark tells Bikyamasr.com that the report by Identity Kenya is “not surprising.”
He went on to note: “We have seen a lot of the elite and super wealthy want to be gay, but that would go against their traditions, so instead they often marry and then hire or do this kind of thing, to have their real desires met. It is a problem of society not opening up to the gay lifestyle and forcing it to the background.”
A fund for victims of trafficking will be set up to help return the person to their home, resettle and re-integrate.
by Denis Nzioka
Source – Identity Kenya