Support Helpline for children in distress in Kenya

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Children are the future of any country. Stakeholders, beginning with the parents, relatives, neighbours, the society and the government, must take up their protective role owed to children.

Established in 2007, Childline Kenya was introduced under the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development to help children in trouble in the country. The toll-free telephone number 116 was introduced so that Kenyans could use it to report cases of child neglect, physical or sexual abuse and child trafficking. This helps trigger necessary help or intervention.

In most cases, child neglect happens when parents leave minors at home unattended to look for casual jobs. In extreme cases, parents have been found deserting their children on the streets. Some force the minors to beg on the streets and bring the money back to them. Neglected children become easy prey for criminals seeking to recruit them into their heinous activities. They grow up hating the system and anyone else they deem responsible for their misfortunes. This eventually heightens insecurity.

Abused children are also likely to end up abusing drugs as they try to come to term with the effects of abuse. It is unfortunate that majority of sexual offenders are either parents, relatives or close friends. This affects them psychologically, physically and may end up being infected with sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and AIDs. Others are impregnated, opening another chapter of suffering, poverty and ridicule.

The national government and the county governments must lead the protection of children against predators and situations that threaten to kill their opportunities. The onus is on all Kenyans to let children be and protect them against all predators.

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