A pastor has been arrested and grilled by children’s officers in Gucha District in connection with child trafficking allegations.
The pastor appeared before the children’s department on Tuesday following summons to answer questions concerning a 12-year-old girl from Tanzania.
Last week, children’s officers rescued the girl from a residential house in Ogembo town where she was reportedly working as a house help. Two people including a teacher recorded statements over the matter.
The child was allegedly trafficked from Tarime, Tanzania into Kenya in August and later reportedly taken to the pastor’s home in Kenyenya District. However, the pastor claimed the child’s uncle in Tanzania gave him the child so that she could study in Kenya.
Gucha children’s officer Caleb Makatiani said the officers were tipped off by the public that an underage girl was working as domestic worker in the teacher’s house. Investigations by police officers and the children’s department revealed the child was in the country illegally.
Makatiani said the girl would still be hosted at the Child Protection Unit at Ogembo Police Station pending further investigations.
The pastor claimed he handed over the child to the teacher so that she could be taken to school next year. "I was given this child by church friends in Tanzania. This is the second child I have brought from that country as I have another boy in form one," argued the pastor.
Makatiani said the pastor had no documents allowing the child to stay in Kenya. "Our initial investigations indicate this could be part of a syndicate of cross-border child trafficking. Members of the public should report such cases," said Makatiani.
He said the pastor would be arraigned in court, once investigations were complete and the child’s parents contacted.