A detective attached to DCI’s Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit, last evening received a prestigious award in Manhattan, New York City, for his role in the protection of vulnerable and exploited children.
In a ceremony that brought glory to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the country at large, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children awarded detective Lawrence Okoth, at an elaborate gala ceremony for child protection held at Cipriani 42nd Street, in New York City.
Detective Okoth, received the Everyday Hero Award which was also awarded to two other exceptional police officers, one from India and the other from Guatemala, whose outstanding performance in handling matters affecting children and safeguarding their rights stood out across the world.
A certified digital forensic investigator who specializes in smoking out paedophiles preying on innocent children, Okoth has for the past three years utilized his skills to nail suspects and put them where they belong, earning him international recognition.
In one outstanding case, the detective who is a Computer Science graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, assisted by other officers from the Child Protection unit arrested a 71-year-old paedophile after he shared disturbing tapes online, depicting child sexual abuse.
This led to a manhunt for the elderly man who is a telecommunications pensioner from Germany and who had sexually abused two boys aged 11 and 13 in Ukunda, Kwale county before he fled to Nyalenda in Kisumu when he realized that detectives were on his trail.
The elderly man would permanently put his victims on stupefying drugs as Okoth and the team later discovered while rescuing the two boys in Ukunda.
While in Kisumu, the pensioner who received his monthly cheque from his previous employer in Germany, continued luring young boys aged between 11-13 into his trap, before defiling them until he was arrested on May 2020 in Nairobi, as he tried to escape our dragnet accompanied by yet another juvenile victim.
After conducting a thorough background check on the paedophile, the detectives managed to obtain his past criminal records, opening a fresh can of worms into the life of the suspect who had spent 5 years in various jails in South Korea, on drug-related charges.
Upon his release from prison in South Korea, in 2018, the monster moved to the Kenyan South coast, where he set up a base in Ukunda and began preying on young boys.
However, since his arrest in 2020, the jailbird has been on remand at the Industrial Area prison as his trial continues. His efforts to be repatriated back to his country to face trial were received with heavy opposition from Okoth and his team who are keen to have him tried in the country.
Such is the good work that attracted the International Centre of Missing and Exploited Children based in the United States, earning detective Okoth global recognition, and an invitation to receive the Everyday Hero Award, thousands of miles away from home.
The Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Missing Children Bob Cunningham gave detective Okoth a glowing tribute for a job well executed and for being a frontline defender of children’s rights.
As Okoth took to the podium to receive his award, the packed ballroom at Cipriani, 42nd street, gave him a standing ovation, as photographers jostled to take good shots of the man of the moment, who had positively impacted on the lives of vulnerable children.
In his acceptance remarks, the detective who could barely hold his tears of joy wowed the guests further as he recounted incidents of how he had rescued minors from exploitation and helped them regain back their lives and dignity.
He acknowledged the immense support that he had received from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in terms of training that enabled him and his colleagues to detect and intercept child exploitation materials shared on the world wide web by paedophiles.
Okoth also acknowledged his colleagues at the Child Protection Unit with whom they work closely together in rescuing vulnerable children and the director DCI George Kinoti, for his visionary leadership and stewardship of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
Also awarded with a lifetime achievement award in the elaborate ceremony was U.S Senator Ron Wyden, who has represented Oregon in the U.S Congress for the past 26 years, and sponsored hundreds of bills in support of child protection.
The organization has for the past 20 years working with over 120countries from across the world in protecting children from exploitation through empowering law enforcement agencies with the tools and the training to make the world safer for children. This year alone, over 1, 600 missing children have been rescued courtesy of the organization.
Detective Okoth was accompanied by DCI’s chief of Corporate Communications, Public Affairs & ICT Inspector Mike Mugo, who represented the DCI in the award ceremony.