Children in orphanages ‘suffer neglect, torture’

George Kebaso @Morarak

Most children in orphanages are not orphans after all, but victims of child trafficking, torture and sexual gratification ‘tools’ for paedophiles posing as Good Samaritans, a new report has revealed.

The study by Disability Rights International (DRI) showed most children in such institutions have parents and extended families. “Poverty and the belief by families that their children will be better off in institutions drives them to give them up,” reads the report.

After two years of investigations in 21 public and private facilities, DRI concluded that the conditions in these institutions expose the children to neglect, abuse and trafficking.

“The situation in institutions for children with disabilities is dire: DRI found children with disabilities in overcrowded spaces, spending lengthy time in restraints and isolation rooms,” read the report dubbed ‘Infanticide and Abuse: Killing and Confinement of Children with Disabilities in Kenya’.

The organisation noted that if the children with disabilities survive childhood, they will likely spend their adult lives in institutions, and death will be the only way out.

In the 21 institutions visited, there were approximately 3,400 children— including one-week-olds. In Mombasa, DRI found another 3,000 institutionalised children. And given that there are an estimated 1,500 orphanages in the country, the total number of children in Kenya’s orphanages is likely huge.

The report accuses international donors, volunteers and mission trips of fueling the orphanage business and trafficking of children.

Some of its recommendations include stopping the killing, torture, and abuse of children with disabilities and supporting at-risk families to ensure no child is placed in an orphanage or any similar institution.

DRI executive director Eric Rosenthal said at Compassionate Hands for the Disabled, children with celebral palsy were left to feed themselves while tied to chairs. Some facilities had former drug addicts and male prisoners mixed with teenagers.

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