The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has advised parents to monitor their children’s online activities, warning that sexual predators are now using such platforms as Facebook to lure teenagers.
According to the DCI, one such incident where a teenager from Machakos was lured to Mombasa by a man she had only met online was thwarted with the help of a bus conductor.
The conductor, attached to the Executive Bus company plying the Nairobi-Mombasa route, noticed the teenage girl boarding at the Machakos junction.
The girl could only manage to pay Ksh.500 out of the required Ksh.1,500 bus fare saying she was on her way to meet her brother on Mariakani.
She then reportedly called the said brother who promised to pay her bus fare balance before Mtito Andei, something which was not honoured.
“Along the way, the conductor got suspicious on the true identity of the person the teenager was going to meet and whether that person was truly her brother. Therefore, upon reaching Samburu, the conductor called the man and tricked him that they had arrived in Mariakani,” read a statement from the DCI.
“He asked him to come at the bus stop and pick the girl as he settled the balance, but the man told him to send the girl to Kaloleni by a motorbike, where she would meet him then he would settle the balance.”
The statement added: “Fearing for the young girl’s safety and tired of being taken on a wild-goose chase, the conductor decided to go with the girl to Mombasa, where her safety was assured.”
Seated next to the girl on the bus was reportedly a priest, who implored the girl to disclose the true identity of the person she was going to meet, to which she finally revealed that the man was not her brother but a stranger she had established contact with through Facebook.
The bus arrived in Mombasa at around 4:30pm but the man only showed up at 8pm, after which the teenage girl said he was not the man she had been chatting with as he did not resemble the photo that appeared on his Facebook page.
The bus company then chose to accommodate the teenager and gave her a ride back to Machakos junction where she had boarded the vehicle the previous day.
Detectives from the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit are currently pursuing the suspect as well as others from a previous similar incident also disclosed by the bus conductor.
“Meanwhile, parents are advised to monitor their children’s online activities and the people they socialise with, since cases of young girls being abducted for slavery and sexual exploitation are on the rise,” stated the DCI.
“Sexual predators have devised new tricks of abducting teenage girls, in a new trend targeting school going girls and those who have just completed their secondary school education. The predators prey on the young girls through their social media accounts, where they obtain their personal information before they lure them into their trap.”