The Rescue of 75 Kenyans from Lebanon (Special Appeal)

Following ‘Terry’s’ story in our 3rd Newsletter edition of July 2020, the situation in Lebanon continued to deteriorate especially after the big explosion at the port of the capital city, Beirut on 4th August 2020. This was followed shortly by a full government resignation which gave rise to an increased military presence on the control of the civil space. Demonstrations rocked Beirut and other cities with Lebanese citizens calling for fresh elections.

As the above scenario was unfolding in Lebanon, the many Kenyans (99% women, some with small children) who had been stranded in the country for lack of means or money to travel back home staged a dramatic demonstration in front of the Kenyan consulate in Beirut on 13th August 2020. They got in touch with CHTEA to seek for further help from the Kenyan side with the government. A letter was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking for intervention on the matter. CHTEA further got in touch with a non-governmental partner in Beirut who agreed to explore ways of offering help to the stranded Kenyans.

A Miracle Shipment

Eventually, the Lebanese partner managed to raise sufficient resources to ship out 75 Kenyans beginning Friday, 28th August to Friday 4th September 2020. As this report was being prepared, a total of 52 Kenyans have landed back in Kenya through the kind support from the CHTEA-Lebanese partner (who chose to remain anonymous until a future date). CHTEA plans to receive the last lot of arrivals on 2nd September at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Most of the returning Kenyans were trafficked to Lebanon with promises of a better life and jobs, only to find themselves abused and deeply traumatised. At the point at which some of them reached out to CHTEA, there were reports of deaths, disappearances, meting out of extreme violence (both at work places and on the streets). A majority of them had lost their accreditation, hence found themselves living as illegal aliens in a country whose socio-political fabric is almost exploding after many years of internal turmoil and economic decline.

CHTEA intends to engage with a majority of them for a debriefing session, even though Covid-19 restrictions may impede a comprehensive engagement. The ones living in and around Nairobi and Mombasa will receive psycho-social support and possible support towards Income Generating Activities (micro-finance) based on an Urgent Appeal to you, the reader and/or your friends.  The sheer number of 75 returnees with their multiple needs – medical, psycho-social, food, shelter, livelihoods and a host of other necessities of life is truly overwhelming.  So, you can see why we reach out to your generous spirit at a time when families are severely cash-strapped.  They left for ‘greener-pastures’ to escape extreme poverty – now they return to worse poverty.

Urgent-Special Appeal for financial Support

Due to this unprecedented scenario, CHTEA finds it very difficult to provide adequate support towards these desperate returnees, hence we are making an urgent special appeal for donations to raise at least USD$20,000 (twenty thousand US Dollars) towards this cause. A number of them have been away for almost ten years and yet they had to come back with nothing to show for the time lost. This could easily lead them to depression and other stigma related conditions. A smaller number are returning with children born while in Lebanon. From the stories of Victims, we are familiar with multiple incidences of rape by bosses and others.  Then it’s either forced abortions or ‘kicked out’ to fend for yourself.  CHTEA would be happy to offer them start-up capital for businesses if you donated urgently and generously. We are kindly making this appeal from 1st to 30th September 2020. As always, there is never too little………….any donations ranging from USD$5 (five US Dollars) will be highly appreciated and will definitely go a long way to transform the lives of the returnees.

For ease donating, bank details are at the bottom of this newsletter. CHTEA wishes to express an advance gratitude for your continued support.

Online sexual exploitation of children increased during the pandemic.

In a recent statement by the Washington based International Justice Mission it described sexual exploitation of children as “a crime of opportunity” Today with Covid 19 lockdown in place, hundreds of thousands of children are confined to their homes and online study is their only link to education.  But it also exposes them to online sex predators who offer them easy money, drawing them into a downward spiral of pornographic exposure.

In an August, 17th article on the Kenyan ‘Daily Nation’ page 13, it says “The dangers that abound on the internet are many and children are especially vulnerable.  Each time a child logs on, he or she opens a doorway for adults that prey on children, paedophiles that prowl in the web, in search of children to groom, not to mention the tons of adult content out there, which often makes its way to channels that market themselves as child-friendly”

Children have very photographic minds and it is easy to see how easily such images become engraved on their minds.  Children are also very curious so they will return again to view such images and may quickly bond with them.  How many parents, especially here in Africa are able to track what ‘lessons’ their children have viewed on a particular day?  For some of them it may be a very real ‘eye opener’ to what their children have mastered to access.   It might even come as a shock to many parents – then the article goes on to cite the case of Mama ‘Joel’ when her 10 year old son told her that he had been getting ”bad” messages every time he turned on his tablet.  She switched on his device, only for a message with a profile picture of a half-naked white woman to pop up accompanied by a message, “Hi darling, want to be friends?” (Suppose he was a teenager or a child who did not confide in a parent?)

Other Crises of COVID-19 Too
Currently in Kenya there is an explosion of teenage pregnancies and it is not surprising when desperate, single mothers encourage and sometimes force their young daughters to have sex with older men. This is done just to secure some basic food in the once-a-day-meal for the poorest of citizens in Nairobi slums.  The outcome for such children carries dire consequences into their teenage years.  For many of them education will be put on hold or terminated, which again diminishes their chances of independent living and life choices in the future.  This is not to focus also on their own lack of self-esteem and self-worth to evaporate quickly in a society where Gender Inequity and Poverty plays such a debilitating impact on their already much blighted young lives.

“Let the Children Come to Me” Luke 18:16
Did Jesus see they were being ignored or pushed aside?  We would say he had a ‘soft heart’ for children, like he could not ignore or overlook their innocent smiles.  This to me makes any violence meted out to children as totally horrendous, the cruelty of any vice against them surely makes their angels cry!!  All the more so because we know that crimes against children are absolutely reprehensible.  They have no words or any language to describe what they feel and how it hurts.  The younger they are the deeper the hurt and with it a lifelong burning pain they will always carry.

Jesus had further words to say “whoever would scandalise one of these little ones . . . depths of the sea” Matt 18: 5 – 7.  For the people of Jesus’ time there was no deviously abused internet technology to twist and distort their minds.  But sadly, in our times to quote ECPAT- USA reports that at least 100.000 children in the USA are sexually exploited. “Pimps market and sell children for sex – openly – at popular online classified sites.  They sell them at truck stops.  They sell them on streets in every city in America” (National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children)

Children in this Covid Era
Unfortunately, we live through this pandemic at a time when nobody can predict just how long the Corona virus will persist/hang around? But what we do know is that world poverty will increase exponentially, creating situations where the underlying factors for human trafficking will follow in tandem – as day follows night.

Gender Inequity: Girls are the most powerless of all vulnerable populations because of social and cultural factors that devalue women and girls.  Very often girls have no control over their destiny and their lower status makes them more likely to be sold voluntarily by their families.  In many parts of Africa they are forced into childhood marriages and genitally mutilated prior to that marriage.  What awesome burdens they are subjected to and in most cases, before they reach 10 years of age.

Poverty:  Sadly in some parts of the world this steep rise in poverty will affect the most vulnerable and women and girls will suffer most.  Families may sell their children to traffickers simply because they cannot feed them.  Or they may be convinced that they are offering their children to someone who can give them a better life and maybe education is part of the deal.
Welcome to this Link below of a KTN documentary and we were part of it in the making.  We see little girls of Karamojong, Uganda sold by their parents for less than the price of a goat.  Incredible but sadly too true.
CLICK HERE Karamajong-servants-trail-of-karamajang-girls-trafficked-from-uganda-to-kenya-inside-source

Far from it being a world where we all thought we could look forward to better things in 2020, we find ourselves instead in the middle of a global pandemic, global warming has increased, natural disasters, increased migration, domestic violence and a host of other equally debilitating factors have become the new normal.  While we must hold on to HOPE, it is no time for the faint hearted!
More than ever before, we (especially people of goodwill) need to bring together our muscles and our minds, using the technology around us to an ever increased degree to make the decisions and best practice which will enable us to travel over these unchartered waters of the Twenty First Century. This is our deepest desire so that all of us and especially the most downtrodden will accomplish their life’s tasks on this tiny planet we call home and arrive at our Eternal Journey’s End in Peace, Safety and Joy.

CHTEA-Kitale network: Human Trafficking narrative from Chepnyal, West Pokot (Kitale Diocese)

It is very important to sensitize interior communities on ‘Human Trafficking (H T).’ It is unknown in West Pokot to date, therefore, all the more reason why people must be informed. Sister Anita began with her interpreter, Dinah by asking the group if they indeed knew or ever heard about ‘Human Trafficking’ and they responded saying, ‘it is our first time to hear the word H T and we do not know what it means.’ To help the women understand what happens when a person is used by a Human Trafficker, Sister used a visual aid booklet on ‘Human Trafficking,’ The Ultimate Slavery. Before sharing the story, sister asked, ‘if a family member or a friend came to your compound and offered to take one of your children to be educated would they let their child go with them?’ Some women replied saying, ‘yes, we would trust the person and allow our child to be taken for education, as we are struggling for fees for many children. If the person was known to the family, why miss out on this opportunity. Then sister said, ‘after hearing the story and seeing the pictures; I will ask again how you would respond and if there is any change in your attitude.’ Sister took time telling the story and showing the pictures to the group.

Here you see a picture booklet showing how a woman befriends a family in an interior village who are very poor. Madam Lolo befriends this family by supporting them and buying tomatoes from Linda who sells them to support the family. Her father is a drunkard and does not support the family. His wife is very happy when Madam Lolo offers to educate her daughter Linda, who is very intelligent. Linda’s dream is go to University to be a doctor. The family is unaware that Madam Lolo owns a bar and her daughter will never get to the University. Linda’s family is visited a year later by Madam Lolo who says, ‘your daughter is doing well,’ & they believed her. She says, ‘your daughter asked me to leave you this money.’ Her father replies, ‘Ooh! Thank you so much. God Bless you. How is she doing at University?’ But Madam Lolo ignored his question. Her father is so happy with the money he forgets about Linda, thinking if she sent money she must be doing well. They have no idea Linda is being prostituted to many men and never gets any money, instead Madam Lolo is becoming rich at the expense of this young girl & many other young girls. These girls are her commercial property. A client complains of being infected with an STI by Linda who is treated by Madam Lolo’s doctor. She becomes pregnant three times and Madam Lolo calls her doctor to do all abortions. This leaves Linda very weak and her health deteriorates and she is tested for HIV and is positive. Linda dies and Madam visits the family & informs them, ‘Poor Linda was hit by a vehicle crossing the road coming from University. Don’t worry I will buy the coffin and pay for her burial.’ Madam Lolo does not care for Linda as she is only a ‘thing’ to her and easily replaced by other poor girls in interior villages.

The group discussed the story they had seen and felt for Linda being treated so badly. Their attitude had changed having seen & heard what happened to Linda. They said, ‘Madam Lolo looked such a nice woman when she visited the family, they believed she would assist Linda with her education.’ Their expressions changed seeing Linda being put into prostitution & Madam Lolo treating her so inhumanly. She got an STI infection, had 3 forced abortions and then became HIV positive and Madame Lolo did not get her treated. They were shocked when Linda died and Madam told lies to the family. They said, ‘she was so convincing telling the family, Linda died after being hit by a vehicle crossing the road.’ They would have thought Madam was generous paying for the coffin and funeral if they were Linda’s parents, as they would have had no idea what had happened to their daughter while with Madam Lolo.

The women are now aware of Human Trafficking and know many ways women, children & men can be targeted by a trafficker. Unemployed people who have degrees are also targeted by traffickers unknowingly. Sister also said, H T can entice their child away from school or their friends while playing, with biscuits, sweets or cakes, saying, ‘your mother from Ketiam… asked me to bring you home from school.’ Many times this happens and the child is never seen again. Traffickers are a step ahead all the time thinking of new ways to trick families to give them a child. Some even dress as priests or sisters so people in the village come to trust them not knowing they are fake. 

By Sr Anita Hubrich, DoC

The Uganda-Karimojong Girls’ Rescue, Phase 2

Following the ‘Karimojong Servants’ video expose by the Kenya Television Network (KTN), the abuse of the Karamoja region-Ugandan girls in Nairobi (and beyond) created a huge impact around the world. Hundreds of feedback messages hit CHTEA’s social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and the Website. The main feedback message was that human trafficking is an unacceptable practice in the modern day society.
The KTN documentary elicited calls (from both State and non-state actors) for urgency to rescue the remaining girls in Eastleigh. The urgency calls have so far culminated to the development a second rescue phase strategy. The second phase is spearheaded by a consortium whose lead agency is the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) alongside the Counter Trafficking in Persons’ Secretariat under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. Other members of the consortium include the Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi, the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Transnational Organised Crime Unit of the DCI…(all State related agencies), the Federation of the International Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA Kenya), the Counter Human Trafficking Trust-East Africa (CHTEA) and the Candle of Hope Foundation (CoHF). The project Secretariat of this consortium will be domiciled at CHTEA. The consortium has attracted the interest of Project Rescue Children from Australia who are exploring collaboration options…………in the line of technical support.
In case you may not have viewed the documentary, here it is:
At this point, the consortium is welcoming viable partnerships with donors in order to provide the requisite financial, technical and material support towards the project. For more details, kindly contact Sister Mary O’Malley, MMM/Patron, CHTEA on Email: or Francis Mutuku Nguli, Executive Director, CHTEA on Email:

Commemoration of the International Counter Trafficking in Persons Day, 30th July 2020

“With the signing of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo, Italy, in December 2000, the international community demonstrated the political will to answer a global challenge with a global response. If crime crosses borders, so must law enforcement. If the rule of law is undermined not only in one country, but in many, then those who defend it cannot limit themselves to purely national means. If the enemies of progress and human rights seek to exploit the openness and opportunities of globalization for their purposes, then we must exploit those very same factors to defend human rights and defeat the forces of crime, corruption and trafficking in human beings”……according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in a 2004 report.

Just like other partners/institutions, CHTEA marked the 2020 commemoration against trafficking in persons amid the Covid-19 pandemic. With increased social movement restrictions and distancing, it became clear that things had to take a different turn.

The national commemoration event was led by the Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTiP) Secretariat based at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. The Cabinet Secretary responsible led a team of high level government officials in running a webinar that brought together all stakeholders in this sector. CHTEA was actively involved in planning (was a member of the technical sub-committee) and the execution of the national activities.

On the Civil Society front, CHTEA was part of a high level national media engagement platform that delivered televised shows, feature stories in mainstream print media and a highly successful media documentary on cross border human trafficking. The following links take you to the various media engagement platforms used by CHTEA to commemorate 30th July 2020:

  1. - A panel discussion during a live morning show on Kenya Television Network on 30th July 2020
  2. - A 2 page pullout in People Daily newspaper, 30th July 2020.
  3. -a documentary by Kenya Television Network on a cross border rescue operation.

you can also Click here
           CHTEA FACEBOOK 
            CHTEA TWITTER

  1. CHTEA also offered a digital interview (including a case study) to “Mtoto News”, a digital child protection platform

Useful Feedback

  1. Appeal - CHTEA wishes to kindly thank all those who donated generously towards our appeal for financial support. We are happy to report that we met our target (of USD $10,000) to support a back log of victims who have been on our waiting list. This was particularly important during this Covid-19 period as most of them were in extreme vulnerability.

To all of you, from CHTEA, we register our deepest appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the victims. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ restore you and replenish the desires of your hearts.

Incidentally, the victim numbers have continued to grow over the last few months, since the advent of Covid-19. We therefore kindly wish to encourage further donations towards this cause. CHTEA is currently involved with the return of hundreds of potential victims from the Gulf region (especially Lebanon). The first group of returnees from Lebanon will be arriving in Nairobi on 28th August 2020. Most of these (mostly ladies) returnees have been away for over 10 years, barely surviving on borrowed time. A number of the returnee ladies have babies hence, they will need a new psycho-social-economic beginning while others may need medical care.

CHTEA-Tanzania Chapter  Celebrates new Anti-Human Trafficking gains announced by the Government on 30th July 2020

The CHTEA Tanzania Chapter, otherwise known as “Jukwaa la Kupambana na Ulanguzi wa Binadamu” (a platform for counter human trafficking) consists of a multi-stakeholder membership. The platform, otherwise popularly referred to as the “Jukwaa” played an active role during the commemoration of the 2020 national event. Jukwaa was established in 2018 following two highly successful trainings at Singida. The Jukwaa’s secretariat is hosted by Faraja Centre, a lead agency in matters HIV/AIDS and Public Health.

Jukwaa is a platform which brings together stakeholders from both Government (police, prosecutors, health institutions, the municipal leadership) and non-State actors (the Faith Based Organizations, lawyers, community leaders, politicians, CBO’s and other NGO’s)

Unlike other countries, Tanzania was not able to carry out the national anti-human trafficking event on the 30th July 2020 due to the death of Mr Benjamin Mkapa, a former president and a peace icon in Africa. The Tanzanian Government had declared a national mourning period which included 30th July.

It was not until 11th August 2020, that the national anti-human trafficking commemoration event took place at Nashera Hotel, Dodoma City. The chief guest at the event was the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr George Simbachawene who made an unprecedented pronouncement that henceforth, all children under the age of 18 years would not be allowed to travel unaccompanied unless they have a letter from parents and their local administrator. This in effect would check on the excesses witnessed in the abuse of children in and outside of Tanzania.

While commenting on this declaration, the head of Faraja Center, Sr Catherine O’Grady, MMM said, “every small step counts in counter human trafficking. Who would have thought that the Government would make such a major step in protecting the rights of children against human trafficking?”

Above, the Minister for home affairs touring CSO exhibition stalls at Dodoma, Tanzania.