19 foreigners arrested in suspected beggar trafficking racket

A police officer at the Likoni police station. /file

Police in Likoni have arrested 19 foreigners among them 16 Tanzanians and three Congolese nationals in what is suspected to be a ring involved in the smuggling of persons living with disabilities into the country to work as beggars.

The 19 were arrested at the Bomas guest house in Harambee area of Likoni on Monday morning according to the Likoni DCIO head Richard Koywer.

13 of those who have been arrested are persons living with disabilities and according to the DCIO, they are usually posted at the Ferry area to beg every morning before being picked up in the evening.

State to crack-down on cartels profiteering from street beggars

The foreigners who are aged between 19 and 40 years have been living at the guest house since December 2019 where they pay a lodging fee of sh 500-1000 a day.

The DCIO said that that investigation had been launched to establish whether they were being used to make money by cartels involved in trafficking disabled persons into the country from Tanzania, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and Burundi.

They are set to be arraigned in court to be charged with being in the country illegally.

“ They did not have the necessary documentation required to be in the country,” The Likoni DCIO Richard Koywer said.

This comes less than a week after devolution PS Nelson Marwa announced that the state would begin cracking down on cartels trafficking persons living with disabilities into the country so as to turn them into beggars.

“There are abled people who drop people with disability at  any various joints across the country for  them the gain from that, let it be clear that  the government will not allow  this madness to continue,” Marwa said

“The government will stop this madness, we will go for them.”He added

Reports indicate that the cartels take advantage of the relaxed immigration laws for members of the East African community to ferry the persons living with disabilities into the country.

It is alleged that most of the disabled persons are lied to that the government in Kenya provides an allowance for persons living with disabilities only for them to be turned into beggars with a daily target set by the cartels.