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Official Launch of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit based at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Academy

25 March 2019, Nairobi - The Director of Criminal Investigations of Kenya, Mr. George Kinoti, UNODC Representative for Regional Office for Eastern Africa Dr. Amado Philip de Andres, the Ambassador of Britain to Kenya Mr. Nic Haley, the Regional Director of National Crime Agency Mr. Dale Barnet and the Deputy Representative of UNICEF Ms. Patricia di Giovanni were among the dignitaries who attended the official launch of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit ( AHTCPU) at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Academy in South C Nairobi, Kenya on Monday 25 March 2019 .

The Anti Human Trafficking, Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU) Cyber Unit adjoins the Unit Headquarters situated at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Training Headquarters on the South C Campus, Nairobi. This location is deemed to be ideal and appropriate away from general law enforcement activity. The construction was funded by the British High Commission/National Crime Agency.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Eastern Africa has established a long-standing cooperation and partnership with various ministries and departments of the Government of Kenya including the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). Currently, UNODC is implementing activities as part of the BMM programme aimed at improving migration management in the region and addressing the trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants within, and from the Horn of Africa. Under this framework, UNODC provides technical expertise and support to the respective government institutions and specialized units geared towards addressing legislative and capacity needs in Kenya to effectively implement United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its supplementing Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Trafficking in Persons Protocol) and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (Smuggling of Migrants Protocol).

The Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU) was established in 2006 under a partnership agreement between the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Kenya Directorate of Criminal Investigations. The Unit is currently Mentored by UNODC under the mentorship of Kelvin Lay and Andy Wells, Law Enforcement Consultants.

In May 2018, UNODC within the framework of its Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021) and the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme, took on the mentoring responsibility for the AHTCPU and has been working to develop and expand its capacity. The launch was preceded by the equipping of the Unit with modern furniture, computers and forensic laboratory materials by UNODC under the BMM programme.

Previously based in refurbished premises at the DCI National Training Headquarters in South C Nairobi, the team under the AHTCPU is working towards a fully multi-agency status with representatives from the Department of Children's Services and NGOs. The AHTCPU is intended to be holistic in operation by sharing intelligence and data across the Law Enforcement, Government, NGO and Private Sector platforms.

The unit intends to decentralise from Nairobi to the Coastal region (Mombasa) and Kisumu in Western Kenya. Each Office will start with 21 officers and be managed centrally from Nairobi.

The Unit premises have now been fitted with high speed internet and networked to allow easy access to shared data and intelligence and full court files. It is envisaged that all the Police Gender Desks nationally will be included within this Network. This will allow all the units to be supported by the central team and facilitate accurate reporting, recording and monitoring of child exploitation, trafficking and gender-based violence nationally.

Now in the new building, the Unit will be split into 3 individual departments.

Cyber Operations

This will be staffed by 8-10 fully trained staff and perform the role as the reception centre for the "Cyber Tips" disseminated daily by the US based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) via a newly installed Virtual Private Network (VPN) giving a direct secure link. The provision of the VPN has been fully authorised and agreed by a 3-way agreement between NCMEC, DCI and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who are the custodians of the network outside the US.

Across East Africa Kenya AHTCPU will be the first recognised law enforcement unit to be direct NCMEC recipients. It is estimated that the new unit will receive between 300-400 dissemination per month relating to child exploitation and human trafficking. These referrals will then be developed by Cyber Operations and packages allocated to the relevant AHTCPU in Nairobi, Mombasa and eventually Kisumu to take enforcement action. Any packages that fall into the remit of the Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) will be disseminated directly via a single point of contact (SPOC).

Under the BMM project, UNODC will provide two Toyota Landcruiser's and one Toyota Minibus to allow this unit to function locally and nationally.

AHTCPU Forensic Lab

This Forensic Laboratory will receive submissions from the 3 AHTCPU's and potentially from the TOCU should they have the requirement. This unit will consist of 3 fully trained forensic examiners; training will be provided by the US DHS. This unit will be responsible purely for the triage of seized devices to quickly identify victims and evidence to assist in the immediate judicial outcome. The full forensic responsibility for examination of seized devices will remain the responsibility of the DCI Cyber forensic team. UNODC is in the process of procuring for the Unit a Toyota twin Cab pickup that will be fitted to enable mobile forensic triage on a National basis.

Victim Identification Suite

This unit will be directly linked to the Interpol International Child Exploitation (ICSE) Database - a first one in Africa. The unit will be staffed by 3 fully trained officers whose role will be to maintain Kenya's input into the ICSE Database and work with the International Victim Identification Network to identify children depicted in child exploitation imagery and video. UNODC is in the process of procuring for the Unit a Toyota twin Cab pickup to facilitate regional awareness training and court appearances in addition to facilitating the meeting of operational triage responsibilities.