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UK to build cyber centre in Kenya ‘to ensure British paedophiles have no place to hide’

Centre will be first of its kind in Africa amid rising number of child abuse cases

Joe Watts
Lagos
Thursday 30 August 2018 00:15 BST
In the past two years two British men have been sentenced after travelling to the African country to sexually abuse youngsters
In the past two years two British men have been sentenced after travelling to the African country to sexually abuse youngsters (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The UK government will build a new “cyber centre” to help stop British paedophiles abusing vulnerable children in Kenya.

The centre will be the first of its kind in Africa amid a rising number of abuse cases faced by Kenyan authorities.

In the past two years two British men have been sentenced to long prison sentences after travelling to the African country to sexually abuse youngsters, some of whom were destitute street children.

It is part of a wider security pact announced by Theresa May, as she heads to Nairobi on the final leg of her three-day tour of Africa, which has also taken in Nigeria and South Africa.

The prime minister said: “Online child exploitation is an abhorrent crime and we are determined to ensure there is no place to hide for predators who use the internet to share images of abuse across borders, too often with impunity.

“This builds on our ongoing work with Kenya on security and criminal justice – a partnership which has already helped to convict and imprison terrorists in the UK.”

Police interview with Matthew Falder, one of Britain's most prolific paedophiles

Currently Kenyan authorities do not receive reports of material of child sexual abuse from US-based tech firms because the specific “secure channels” needed to do so do not exist in the country.

The new cyber centre will for the first time enable authorities to access data on abuse provided by the tech firms, ensuring perpetrators can be brought to justice.

The centre will be based in Kenya’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit set up by UK’s National Crime Agency, which officials say is seeing an increase in cases of child abuse.

It has over 100 live investigations underway and since March 2016 has protected around 400 children and supported the arrest of around 40 suspects.

The unit helped secure the conviction of Simon Harris from Shropshire, who was sentenced to 14 years in 2015 for sexually abusing Kenyan street children.

Keith Morris from Hull was also sentenced to more than 18 years in prison in 2018 for sexually abusing Kenyan children in a village near Mombasa, as a result of work done at the unit.

The new security pact also commits the UK to beef up Kenyan aviation security, including providing machines to detect explosives to help keep 100,000 Brits who visit the country annually stay safe.

The UK will also offer training to police and help Kenyan authorities tackle violence against girls and women.

Finally, they will share expertise with Kenya’s criminal justice system to strengthen the procedures for complex legal cases including terrorism and organised crime.

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