In an unprecedented partnership arrangement, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) handed over a cross-border case to CHTEA. The case had fully been prosecuted at a Kenyan court in Makadara where the two Tanzanian traffickers were found to have a “prima facie” position (a case to answer).
The two children aged 6 and 8 years had been trafficked by their own aunt who used to live in Nairobi. She also trafficked another two Kenyan children to Tanzania. At the point of case handover, the DCI had concluded the traffickers’ case in court but had been unable to bring out the children’s father to Nairobi for a family reunion in the presence of the presiding judge.
Upon successful consultations with CHTEA, the DCI finally handed over the matter on 21st October 2019. CHTEA immediately mobilized the Tanzanian Chapter based in Singida for a possible intervention from that end. The children’s father originated from the Manyara region, Babati District, Dareda village. After back and forth consultations on whether to have the CHTEA Tanzanian chapter act on the matter, the Nairobi office made a decision to undertake the very delicate operation.
At exactly 2.30 pm on 29th October, one CHTEA senior staff from Nairobi set off for the Tanzanian mission. It took seven hours to get to Arusha where he luckily got the last bus to Babati at around 8.15pm. He was only allowed in after pleading with the bus driver as it was reportedly full. The journey to Babati took another six hours; arriving at around 1.00am and booked himself to a hotel for a few hours rest before embarking on an unprecedented journey to a remote village, almost 100 kilometers away.
On the following day, the staff set out early after a simple breakfast meal at Babati. At the back of his mind, he did not expect the journey to be too long, but alas, a shocker awaited him. He first contacted the Administrator (Afisa Mtendaji) who confirmed that she was expecting him at her office at Dareda. His intention/expectation was to accomplish his mission in good time to be back at Arusha in time to travel back to Nairobi the same day.
The journey to Dareda was by use of a motor bike, hence, he had to first connect the motor bike rider to the Dareda Administration in order to get directions. It took almost an hour to get to Dareda which turned out to be a big shocker to the CHTEA staff who had earlier thought that Dareda was within the environs of Babati. On arrival, he called the Dareda Administrator who indicated that she was on her way to the office. Two hours later however, she had not still arrived and even after her arrival, she did not bother to seek him out. She instead embarked on another journey to the nearest township. Our staff had to send the motor rider (whom he had asked to wait) to bring her back to her office. Once back, she neither had any apologies for her delay nor her decision to leave a CHTEA staff waiting for her at her office, even after they had earlier telephone conversations.
No sooner had the CHTEA staff introduced himself to the Dareda Administrator than she began summoning her colleagues and community leaders for a consultative meeting. At the meeting, she claimed that Kenyans were not straight forward people as she asserted that during an earlier visit to Nairobi for the court testimony, the Tanzanian team (herself included) did not receive their reimbursements as promised by the Kenyan DCI officers. She further claimed that it could have been the reason why one of the Kenyan DCI officers did not notify her of CHTEA’s mission….this even as she was handed an official letter from the DCI confirming CHTEA’s mission.
The matter deteriorated further when the Administrator decided to instruct that the children’s father not to show up, lest he gets lured to Kenya before the reimbursement matter is settled. After a very long protracted discussion, the CHTEA official disclosed a mobile money transfer from the DCI to the same Administrator. The disclosure created more discomfort and she changed the story line to non-payment of allowances. The mobile money transfer was for Kenya Shillings 16,000 (equivalent to Tsh. 320,000). The CHTEA officer had at one point make a threat to the Administrator…….telling her that all he was seeking was to get the Tanzanian children back to their parent and if they did not recognize his effort towards the same, he could as well choose to travel back to Nairobi. His threat yielded some traction and the Administrator sent him back to Babati to meet the Regional Commissioner and the Regional Commander of the Criminal Investigations’ Division (CID).
While all this was happening, time was running out for the CHTEA officer to catch a bus from Arusha to Nairobi. At 2.45pm, he headed back to Babati to seek clearance from the Regional heads but this proved to be another uphill task. The Regional Commander was not available, so he was asked to wait at a wooden bench. The officers in the office tried to reach him out on his mobile phone but nothing was forthcoming. He had to learn the important virtue of patience. After waiting for 30 minutes, he returned to the same office and charged at the officers……seeking to know if they had made any further efforts to reach out to the Regional CID Commander. They made another call where the boss instructed the police officers to refer the CHTEA officer to the District Police Force to deal with the matter. The officer in charge of Dareda police post was instructed to process the matter and ensure that the children’s father was released to the CHTEA officer.
A security officer from Babati was released to accompany the CHTEA officer back to Dareda to take charge of the orders given by the Babati Regional leadership command. Even so, the Administrator at Dareda tried to persuade the CHTEA officer to allow more time so that he travels back to Nairobi the following day…….this he turned down and insisted that he preferred spending the night at Arusha.
Finally, at around 6.45pm, the children’s father was escorted to the Administrators office where a brief meeting was convened to explain the mission to him. The father disclosed how he had earlier been advised against meeting the CHTEA officer……but all this was now in the past. The and the CHTEA officer immediately took a motor bike to his home where he bade farewell to his family and picked his travel documents and immediately embarked on a journey of about 100 kilometers to Babati, enroute to Arusha.
By 7.30pm, the duo were on their way from Dareda to Babati where they would ride on any available means to Arusha. Eventually, they got a bus which was transiting from Tabora to Arusha where they arrived at 11.00pm and booked themselves into an overnight stay hotel. They however made an Arusha-Nairobi shuttle bus booking for the following day before retiring for the night. The two left Arusha for Nairobi at 7.30am the following morning, 31st October where they arrived at around 2.00pm and had lunch and booked the children’s father to hotel for overnight stay in order to appear at court the following day, 1st November 2019 for official handover of his children.
Family Re-unification at Court
The presiding court at Makadara had set 1st November 2019 as the handover date for the two children whose matter had involved two countries. The DCI, working in collaboration with CHTEA prepared for a proper handover of the kids to their biological father. Once the children’s father was in Nairobi, the DCI officer responsible for the case was immediately notified and logistical matters relating to the handover agreed on phone.
In the early morning of 1st November 2019, the DCI officer in charge of the court case collected the children’s father from CHTEA’s offices in South ‘B’ and returned with the reunited family at around 12.30pm. The head of DCI, Child Protection and Human Trafficking expressed a lot of gratitude of the support given by CHTEA to make the reunion possible. The kids looked quite excited to be with their father. CHTEA treated them to lunch and took them for shopping ……..kid clothes and bags. A special hotel room was booked for the reunited family – with two beds and a shuttle bus booking made for the following day.
The Return of a Reunited Family
On 2nd November 2019, 7.30am, the reunited family was picked from their hotel accommodation by the CHTEA Patron and taken to the Panari Hotel stage where an Arusha bound shuttle bus picked them up for their final journey home at Dareda, Tanzania. The Patron prepared a thermos flask full of tea and some snacks for the children to feed while on journey. An extra Kenya shillings 3,000 (Tsh 60,00) was also given to their father for journey incidentals and immediate family subsistence when they get back home.
The journey back home for the family was however not flawless. When family got to the Namanga border, the customs’ officials threatened to block the children from entering Tanzania for lack of travel documents. The shuttle bus driver called CHTEA Patron to inform her of the border challenge. The Patron liaised the Chief Executive Officer who in turn got in touch with the DCI. The matter was resolved in a record short time due to DCI’s intervention…….they spoke to colleagues at the Namanga border who got the family released proceeded to Arusha with the rest of the passengers.
Important Future Considerations
- A robust and active Tanzania CHTEA (Jukwaa) platform will go a long way to alleviate some of the difficulties of dealing with the Tanzania Government authorities. Establishing working relationships with the Government is key to success.
- Costs associated with cross border counter human trafficking cases keep fluctuating depending on the prevailing circumstances
- Partnership is the way to go in creating a flawless infrastructure for cross-border counter human trafficking interventions. Partnerships further enhance the attainment for the fourth pillar – Prosecution
- The two traffickers will be handed down a jail term of up to a maximum of 30 years. CHTEA will sit at the court to hear the final verdict of the case
The case was closed on 2nd November 2019
Sr Mary O’ Malley & Mutuku Nguli CEO