A United Nations report has said Kenyan women are kept captive and exploited through forced marriage and sexual slavery inside Somalia.
The report says the women targeted are from the Coast region.
“The women were deceived with false promises of a job but instead kept captive and exploited in marriage and sexual slavery,” the report says.
Titled Trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, the report was prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
In 2017, a group of women was recruited from a coastal region of Kenya and transported into territory controlled by al Shabaab in Somalia.
The report says al Shabaab trafficks women and girls for use in sex slavery or forced marriage.
Traffickers take advantage of people’s desperation and deceive them into traveling abroad, ensuring that, en route, many end up in captivity.
“Armed groups active in this environment abduct and coerce women into sexual slavery and recruit children for use in combat or support roles,” the report says.
The report says the conflict in Somalia has displaced a large part of the population, creating steady flows of refugees.
“Refugee camps in neighboring countries and informal settlements within the country are marred with vulnerabilities, particularly related to the limited available job options,” the report says.
Refugees escaping armed conflict are at risk of being trafficked and used for extortion or sold as sex slaves.
The UN says trafficking of children into various armed groups has been documented throughout the country.
“Al Shabaab, for example, has trafficked children for various purposes, including armed combat and sexual slavery. The armed group Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a, the Somalia National Army, clan militias and regional government forces have also recruited children into their ranks, albeit in lesser numbers,” the report says.