PSCU…/ The Kenyan government on Thursday announced an immediate ban on the adoption of children by foreign nationals.
A special Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta and attended by Deputy President William Ruto also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya.
The meeting also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to streamline operations of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya and those of children homes in the country.
The decision was informed by Kenya’s current ranking by the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014, United Nations Office on drugs and crime, citing Kenya as a source, transit and destination country in human trafficking.
The move is a response to concerns about increased cases of child trafficking through abuse of Kenya’s adoption processes by foreigners.
Kenya is ranked at Tier 2 Watch List for non-compliance with minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, based on the 2014 US State Department report on trafficking in persons.
Adoption has often been steeped in suspicion and matters have not been helped by a moratorium on inter-country adoptions (adoption of a Kenyan child by foreigners who live outside the country) placed by the government.
The objective of the moratorium effected on November 26, 2014, was to enable the government to intervene and conduct a comprehensive audit of the policy and legal frameworks, processes, procedures and players involved in the practice of adoption.
In April, 2019, concerns were raised that included lack of public participation before the moratorium was enforced. Several laws targeted at regulating adoption were raised, with some parties claiming there are efforts to lock them out.
Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo argued that, though it is possible to abuse the rights of children when the laws are weak, and that there is need to have better regulations, the same should not be used to muzzle those who want to adopt.
The ban happens five months after adoption agencies had sought to fight ban as theft and sale of children raised concerns. In Kenya.