A Tanzanian man who smuggled a minor from his country into Kenya has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
James Sengo Nestroy was fined 30 million Kenyan shillings ($241,000) or imprisoned for economic exploitation and resisting police arrest before Presiding Judge Agnes Mwangi of the Makadara Court of Justice in Nairobi.
Senju, who has lived in Kenya since 2001, was arrested last year after BBC News Africa exposed the kidnap and sale of children in Kenya.
In a case where ten witnesses testified in the case, according to prosecutors, the court heard that minors with physical disabilities were found in northern Kariobangi district and that Senju had resisted arrest.
“The charge case (PW1) is a Tanzanian national. He was taken to Kenya by the defendant after the defendant spoke to his mother and they agreed that he would come with him to Kenya to beg. The two then traveled together to Nairobi on the road that defendant (Singu) PW1 introduced to a man named Amos who will take him begging in Thika. PW1 further claimed that the defendant would keep the money,” the decision said.
The judge ruled that it was unfair for Sengo to deal, in such conditions with an innocent child, and worse still, a physically disabled child, and to exploit his condition for personal economic gain.
The judge ruled: “The evidence shows that the defendant exploited the victim for his own economic gain, exploited his vulnerability and his status as a person in a dead end after being smuggled out of Tanzania.”
After a BBC documentary that highlighted the theft of children from a public hospital in the city, then-Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambay ordered an investigation which subsequently uncovered child trafficking.
Media research revealed that children stolen from Tanzania were being smuggled to Nairobi and Thika.
Many were taken from their parents with promises of a better life.
Instead, the children were forced to beg on the streets for years while their captors took all the profits.
Some of the victims claimed that they were beaten when they didn’t make enough money.
After the BBC unmasking in July 2022, at least 78 beggars, allegedly from Tanzania, were arrested in Nairobi in an operation against an underground smuggling ring.
This the move resulted in Tanzania imposing tougher penalties on child traffickers.
Last September, Tanzania passed changes to national anti-trafficking laws that include harsher penalties such as life imprisonment and fines of up to 200 million Tanzanian shillings ($86,000).