Kenyan police arrest hospital officials in connection with child trafficking ring

The arrests follow a yearlong BBC investigation on child trafficking in Nairobi.

November 19, 2020, 10:27 AM

LONDON -- Kenyan police have arrested at least three medical officers from a public hospital in Nairobi for their alleged involvement in a child trafficking ring.

"During an operation by police to unearth the organized crime, police officers noted with a lot of concern that local public hospitals and children homes within Nairobi are involved," Kenya’s Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai said in a statement Wednesday. "In the course of the investigations and operations, it is unfortunate that it was realized senior medical officers in collusion with the child smugglers are highly involved."

Police have not yet released the names of the suspects, the exact charges they face or the name of the hospital where they work.

PHOTO: NA young mother holds her eight months baby bump in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, June 25, 2020.
A young mother holds her eight months baby bump in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, June 25, 2020.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, FILE

The arrests come after an explosive, yearlong investigation by BBC's Africa Eye revealed evidence of a thriving underground network of child trafficking syndicates in Nairobi -- from illegal street clinics to a major government-run hospital -- that snatch babies from vulnerable mothers to be sold on the black market for as little as $400. The documentary, titled "The Baby Stealers," aired Monday.

PHOTO: A mother changes her baby as she waits for medical attention at a clinic in Kenya.
A mother changes her baby as she waits for medical attention at a clinic in Kenya.
Wendy Stone/Corbis via Getty Images, FILE

Mutyambai said he has directed officers and other local security agencies across Kenya to immediately take action and investigate child trafficking within their areas of jurisdiction, especially in children’s homes as well as in local and private hospitals. He said there is a "high possibility" that more people will be arrested as their investigations continue.

BBC reported Thursday that four more people have been arrested, which would bring the total number in custody so far to seven. ABC News has reached out to Kenya's National Police Service for comment.

PHOTO: A mother carrying her baby looks for a seat in bus in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 25, 2008.
A mother carrying her baby looks for a seat in bus in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 25, 2008.
Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

The BBC investigation noted that there are no reliable statistics on child trafficking in the East African nation, and that the agencies responsible for finding missing children and tracking the black market are both under-staffed and under-resourced.

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