I was at an advanced stage of preparation for a Training Conference in Nairobi in April, 2020 for MMM Sisters in East Central Africa (ECA) health units – hospital and health centres.  I realise that we have a vast outreach to hundreds of thousands of people through our medical facilities.  My desire and hope is that Human Trafficking can be included same as any other heath subject.  Enter Covid-19 and we had to postpone the Conference till next year.

From November, 2019 to January, this year we had negotiated with leaders and Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in four large slums, how to return if possible some young Karamojan girls who were trafficked to Nairobi some months or years earlier.  Then through the police of both countries and the Ugandan embassy in Nairobi we were finally able to repatriate 96 girls in a planned move back to their country.  We had negotiated that they were received by “Dwelling Places” – Safe houses in Uganda to assess each one and offer them training or safe return home to their families.  Life in Nairobi had become very harsh for the majority of them – they were in forced domestic labour, sexually exploited, others sent to Somalia as wives of Al Shabbab fighters, others were possibly sent to carry out bombings.  Some had managed to escape and were sleeping rough in the streets of these dangerous slums in Nairobi.

As 2020 ends we remember God’s Faithfulness to us despite all the uncertainty and turmoil we felt and with grateful hearts we journey towards Him with hope.

I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2021.

Love & Prayers.

Sr. Mary O’ Malley, MMM


From early July, we struggled back-and-forth in a brave attempt to rescue Victims from Lebanon.  One woman came to us saying her daughter ‘Teri’ was 11 years in Lebanon that she had two children there and the treatment they received from the Kenyan embassy was appalling.  Women were threatened that they could not access services unless they gave sexual favours to officials and they were obliged to pay for any services in $USD which they could not afford.  Then there was a massive bombing in the capital, Beirut, this resulted in increased violence, looting and homelessness.  Kenyans rioted at the Embassy and this may have moved matters a little.  Teri managed to find one room to share with 3 other mothers and children in total, 11 people ‘lived’ in that one room, on a very meagre diet as they took turns to go out looking for work in washing clothes or any casual jobs they could find.

Since July we were in already in pursuit of ‘Terri’s case in which we outlined the situation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Nairobi, we also included a letter from her mother.  We were very happy to get an appointment with one of the MFA officials.  It was shortly after this that the MFA sent a delegation to Beirut.  We also contacted a Comboni missionary in Rome who works at Global level in Counter Human Trafficking.  She is in contact with Comboni Sisters in Lebanon and they assisted us by contacting Terri.  Through this contact we learned that she had a failed marriage to an Egyptian by whom she had 2 children.  According to Islamic law he has absolute custody of the children.  Finally through the Comboni Sisters and a Lawyer, he agreed to allow her custody of the children – it was a lengthy legal tussle and she could not have accessed services on her own.  They also linked her with a young Lebanese lady philanthropist who paid all the fares back to Nairobi.  We met her at the International airport with her two children and took Teri to her mother.  It was a very emotional moment when they met – Joy at being back to family in one of the Nairobi city slums.  I noted she had suffered severe weight loss and appeared very tense and traumatised, her sleep pattern was very disturbed (lying awake 2 –, “Thinking”).  This is not good for mental health, she shed many tears with me as she spoke of her fears, etc. etc.  She readily agreed to counselling and I took her to a Clinical Psychologist – Dr K who is also an MD and Psychiatrist.  All this has transpired almost 3 months ago, Teri is now progressing very well in her therapy she said “I no longer spank the children like I used to and I am beginning to enjoy them”  This is wonderful news and she is also doing well in a small Business Start-up we gave her (micro-finance).  Already she is talking about sending the children to school next year.

I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2021.

Love & Prayers.

Sr. Mary O’ Malley, MMM



Genevieve (not her real name), aged 22years, hails from Bujumbura City, Ruzimba village, Burundi. She was trafficked to Kenya for marriage by a well-known Church Minister in collaboration with two Burundian women who belonged to his church in Nairobi, Kenya.

Genevieve comes from a very humble background, her father died while she was young and she has been brought up by a single mother with a lot of difficulty. She has two younger siblings who deserve a lot of care because her mother is also sickly and she cannot meet their basic needs. This made Genevieve to drop out of school at class five and started looking for petty jobs to meet the needs of the entire family.

In early March 2017, two Burundian women who were well known to her family members went and requested her mother to allow Genevieve to travel to Nairobi and do business with them. The two also introduced Genevieve and her mother to the alleged Pastor (albeit virtually) as their spiritual father who ministered to them while in Nairobi. This touched Genevieve’s mother who agreed to release her daughter to travel to Nairobi. The two women further informed Genevieve’s mother that the Pastor was interested in marrying a Burundian lady since he claimed that they were of good character, hence their request to consider Genevieve for marriage to the Pastor.

After several telephone conversations with Genevieve’s mother, the Pastor promised to support the facilitation of getting the temporary passport and transport costs of Genevieve to Nairobi. Out of the sheer promise for better life in Nairobi, Genevieve excitedly accepted to consider the marriage offer.  Afterwards, she prepared herself and left for Nairobi hoping to find the two Burundian women waiting for her. On arrival, she found the Pastor instead waiting for her at the Nairobi bus terminus and he took her straight to his house. Shantel was however shocked to find the Pastor waiting for her without the Burundian ladies who had promised to also give her a job on arrival.

When she asked the Pastor about the two Burundian ladies, she was told that they were very busy with church work and that he would take her to them the following day. On arrival at the Pastor’s house, the whole story changed as he instructed Shantel that from that moment onwards, she was his wife and that she should never move out of that house without his consent.

Nature of Exploitation

Within a short period of time, Genevieve was expectant; which marked the beginning of her many problems in the cohabitation. She used to spend many days and nights without proper food and she was at times battered and forced into submission. The Pastor threatened to get her killed. Genevieve further reported that the Pastor had severally used men to seduce and try to sleep with her as a trap. Genevieve eventually developed signs of depression and she was admitted at Mama Lucy hospital for further medical care and observation, where she was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

During delivery of her child, she couldn’t give birth normally due to the high blood pressure. This forced her to undergo a Caesarian Section to save her life and that of the child. Two weeks post-delivery, Genevieve was summoned to the Chief’s office for having threatened to kill her husband using a kitchen knife. Everyone present during interrogation was against her, hence she didn’t give her side of story. The Pastor eventually left her in their matrimonial house and moved out to live at another house at the church he was administering. He further started moving out with other young girls whom he used to send to Genevieve to confront her and threaten her. Genevieve was eventually locked out of the single room she used to stay in with her 10 months’ old daughter for defaulting on rent payment.

When the matter became unbearable, she was offered some money by her estranged husband for bus fare to travel back to Burundi; even though it wasn’t enough. Genevieve did not have any travel documents so she could go nowhere and yet she had no place to call home. She roamed from house to house looking for well-wishers to host her as she tried to right her travel papers.


Genevieve’s case was brought to the attention of CHTEA by a Community Volunteer (CV) based at Mukuru slums, Nairobi. Screening was carried out which confirmed Genevieve to be a Victim of Trafficking [VoT] for marriage. A rescue and rehabilitation plan was developed before any repatriation thoughts could be considered. She was asked to develop a business plan of her choice as transitional accommodation was arranged for her. She eventually proposed to begin an eggs’ business within the precincts of where she lived. A single room of accommodation was also secured for her, with an advance payment of three months’ rent for both accommodation and the business location. This was happening as she was undergoing counselling.

It never took long after establishing her business to move on with her life. However, shortly afterwards, a distress call from an unknown caller summoned her to the Sub County Children’s Office in Kayole. She honored the summon only to find out that her former husband had gone to the nearest police station and complained that Genevieve had stormed his Church and defiled his name besides chasing away all church followers. He further claimed that Genevieve had launched a fight with some church members. This, he claimed had happened even after he offered transport for her to travel back to Burundi.

By the time she got to the children’s office, she found that the complainant had left the police occurrence book claims with the concerned children’s officer. Genevieve was called upon to answer the charges placed with the police report but she disputed all. Genevieve was escorted to the Children’s office by a ‘’guardian mother’’ Noella, who also disagreed with the police claims since Genevieve’s engagements over the same period were totally different. Genevieve was let off with a caution that she should never call her estranged husband with regard to the welfare of the baby based on the fact that she had refused to travel back to Burundi. As well, the Pastor was called on telephone and warned not to call Genevieve and that he needed to give Genevieve time to heal and take care of the baby.

The same evening and in contravention of the Children office’s directive, Genevieve claimed to have received a call from the Pastor threatening her that he would take action against her since she had refused to travel back to Burundi.

Further Intervention and the Way Forward

Genevieve made a decision to notify CHTEA about the threats of her former “husband”. She was terrified by the threats since she had thought that the children’s office had given clear instructions to both sides. CHTEA took up the matter. The first port of call was the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) where it was agreed that the Pastor gets summoned for clarification of the matters reported to the police. It was however agreed that CHTEA would carry out the first level of engagement/investigations, then provide recommendations to the DCI in case it required further action.

At an appointed date, both parties were summoned to appear before a team of CHTEA officers. They arrived on time and they each had one witness ……the Pastor arrived with a fellow female Pastor while Genevieve arrived with her guardian mother, Noella. The meeting started at 3pm and lasted almost 4 hours. The conversations were both animated and emotive to both sides. The CHTEA team was basically digging in to understand the whole truth; assess that against all previous decisions/actions and finally develop intervention options for a lasting solution. All options were possible including providing criminal recommendations to the DCI.

When the sharing begun, Genevieve was given the first opportunity to explain her case. She did so with a lot of detail. She however avoided certain facts which could put her in bad light when it came to a final judgment. First, it was clarified that Genevieve had initial intentions to travel to Nairobi for business, even before she was approached about the Pastor’s marriage proposal. Secondly, she travelled by herself to Nairobi but not in the company of the two Burundi ladies as earlier reported. She spoke of the Pastor’s abuse once he assumed the role of a husband. She spoke of an initial short-lived period of blossoming love but that all this changed once she got pregnant. She accused the Pastor of infidelity and neglect during and after pregnancy.

According to her, the final straw was broken when the Pastor moved in with his church’s chairlady. He stopped spending time at home and he abrogated his responsibility towards his family once she gave birth. Eventually, the Pastor took this matter to the Children’s office where he handed in ten thousand Kenya Shillings as a contribution towards Genevieve’s journey expenses to Burundi, which she never did, allegedly due to lack of travel documents and inadequate fare.

On his part, the Pastor confirmed that he had initially taken Genevieve to be his wife but that many things changed within a short time. He claimed to have taken very good care of her and that he had sacrificed everything to make her happy; to which Genevieve admitted.

The Pastor however opened the can of worms when he said that Genevieve had defiled their matrimonial bed twice and on both occasions, she neither apologized nor reformed. He also spoke of the violent side of Genevieve especially in respect of his work and the fact that he had regular meetings with his female congregants. “She physically assaulted me in front of the church just for failing to recognize her”, he claimed. He further claimed that he had faithfully been paying Shantel’s monthly upkeep allowance of eight thousand four hundred Kenya Shillings ever since they separated. This, he had been doing at a great cost to his church ministry e.g. selling church equipment. Most of the above issues had never been revealed to CHTEA by Genevieve.  Upon further inquiry, the Pastor admitted to having re-married and that his marriage with Genevieve had hit rock bottom and was not redeemable.

Observation from the two witnesses

Noella, Genevieve’s guardian mother and alleged trafficker accomplice confirmed that the Pastor had asked for a Burundian lady to marry and that she only shared this information with Genevieve, only to learn later (after 3 months) that Genevieve had already travelled and lived with the Pastor in Nairobi. She also got to know of their squabbles when the Pastor invited her to counsel Genevieve every time they had a disagreement. She expressed her exhaustion towards the same and was ready to let Genevieve travel back home irrespective of the shame that this would draw towards her family.

On the part of the lady Pastor, she was utterly shocked at the level of both deceit and pain visited upon both parties. She repeatedly requested that both parties consider forgiveness and reconnection to their former selves for the sake of their baby. She further insisted that there was no way they could permanently break their union as long as the baby remained a fact to their lives. She indeed asked that they both commit to forgive each other as a first step to healing, even though they may never re-unite. Genevieve in particular was deeply offended on confirming that had re-married…. she cried painfully and shouted a few very emotional and harsh words.

Case closure and repatriation of Genevieve

After many months of follow up on Genevieve’s case, CHTEA finally offered to repatriate her upon her own request. As this report was being filed, Genevieve finally got her child’s birth certificate from her estranged husband and she was finally headed back home with more hope and optimism to begin a new life using the support extended to her by CHTEA.

Genevieve’s is a showcase for the high cost associated with counter human trafficking interventions. Simple as it may seem, this case has cost CHTEA in excess of KES100,000 (US$ 1,000). It presents a master piece of how complex human trafficking/modern day slavery cases can get……a depiction of how normalcy in life can be abused by traffickers, trafficking networks and the merchants of absurdity.

Genevieve and her baby finally got back home in Bujumbura, Burundi in early November 2020

Note: The name used is not real to protect the identity of the victim




From early January we continued with Awareness workshops on Human Trafficking, in total, we had 250 of them (workshops) given before Covid-19 was announced, reaching almost 7.000 people, mainly youth.  Then immediately lockdown started, this meant we had to discontinue workshops as it involves gatherings of people.  All students were sent home and that brought other unforeseen difficulties and extra expenses.  Suddenly, these students had no technology to follow classes and do exams, etc. online. Since all of them are from slums and never owned a phone, now they needed ‘smart’ phones, bundles, revision papers, etc. I already knew that for most parents it was also an added burden to feed them and in the case of some single and/or trafficked mothers, I assisted them with small micro-finances to supplement the family income.  Added to all this was loss of employment and increased domestic violence.   I had four girls I had earlier educated them in a 4-year Dress Design and Tailoring college and they had even got jobs but then the people they worked for said, they could no longer employ them due to a sudden drop in the economy.  So, rather than have them redundant and no means of livelihood, I bought them a sewing machine each and they took off on their own making face masks –  when people saw them sewing and with machines they have continued to be self-employed and making sufficient money to supply their needs.

Victim Rescue and Repatriation.

As the pandemic progressed we were called to a number of pathetic circumstances where child victims of human trafficking were physically and psychologically abused, some had run away from where they were taken from distant areas of Kenya to be domestic servants in Nairobi slums.  We managed to repatriate a total of 12 children. One who stands out for me is A little Ugandan girl aged 6 years who was a domestic servant in the (rented) one roomed house of her biological aunt to cater for two boys aged 14 & 16 and a girl aged 12 years.  (See photo below)  She was taken to Nairobi on the pretext of a good education, but she was never even taken inside a school and was never left with any food.  One day she found 50/- equivalent of 50 cents and went out to buy chips for herself.  In the evening she was thoroughly beaten by the aunt (with visible welts even 2 days later), then she boiled water and poured it over the unsuspecting child.  The sight of her burns was horrific as you see from the copious bandaging.  Some women came around next morning as they had heard a child’s screams, they called us to see a way forward.  The procedure to follow here is that the matter is reported to the Chief and he involves the police. We took her to hospital and now she is at a Safe house for children.  It will be difficult to trace her family and the Uganda border is still locked down.  We suspect the lady has bribed the police as she should be handed down 8 – 9 years in jail.  But Kenya is so corrupt – we fight a losing battle most of the time.  Eventually, we will have to take the child with her aunt to the family home in Uganda.


I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2021.

Love & Prayers.

Sr. Mary O’ Malley, MMM



In the last two months, CHTEA has trained representatives of 2 Commissions from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  1. The Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue and Ecumenism 

Led by the KCCB Deputy Secretary General, Rev. Fr. Lucas Ong’esa Manwa, the Commission (in collaboration with AGIAMONDO) brought together over 30 priests, representing all Dioceses in Kenya to a physical Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 16th – 19th November 2020 at the Roussel House, Donum Die, Karen, Nairobi.

CHTEA was invited to deliver a counter human trafficking training session on the first day where participants benefited from deep insights in to the subject. The priests were deeply touched by the plight of trafficked victims and began to appreciate more about the role of the Church. Even though most priests got to be in such a training for the first time, a majority of them testified that it was possible that human trafficking was happening in their backyards for lack of capacity and appropriate skills. Towards the end, the Priests got very keen to get started at the Diocesan level. It was such an amazing opportunity for the priests to engage with such soul searching content on human trafficking.

  1. The Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Sea Fearers

The training was the culmination of a concerted effort by the Catholic Church in general to strengthen counter human trafficking efforts in Kenya. Through a number of initiatives such as the Santa Marta Group Conference in 2019/20 and the growing coalition of the Religious Against Human Trafficking (RAHT), the Church is continuously getting the human trafficking concern into the center of her core priorities.

The Commission brought together participants from all the 25 Dioceses. It particularly targeted Coordinators of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), the Refugees and the Catholic Men and Women Associations.

Even though the October 2020 training marked a good start, it only offered the bare minimum of a body knowledge that the entire Church requires in order to engage in a more robust and efficient manner to combat human trafficking.

This particular training was undertaken during a period of restrictions by the Ministry of Health due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In this respect therefore, the trainers and their trainees were only able to interact virtually (through Zoom virtual platform) hence, there was limited ability to engage in more teaching ways such as role plays or use of other teaching aids. The trainers were also not able to clearly measure the level of concentration and understanding on the part of trainees. Online trainings have never been easy to evaluate hence, the trainees’ oral feedback was the only means through which both the convener (KCCB) and the trainers could rely on.

A short video clip was projected showing three trafficked Karamoja girls from Uganda being transported through crowded streets of Nairobi to their point of delivery. A method of question and answer was also used to pick on the participants’ areas of concern and inadequacy. Towards the end of the training programme, participants were invited to provide feedback on their own observations or gaps identified during the sessions. One key feedback entailed the request by a Priest participant that such a training is essential for Priests at large as they were the key custodians of the Christian community.

Above: A section of the priests who attended the counter human trafficking training at Roussel House, Nairobi.


As a follow up to the 3rd Africa Santa Marta Group (SMG) conference which was convened in September 2020, Counter Human Trafficking Trust-East Africa (CHTEA) and the Santa Marta Group (SMG-Kenya) have collaborated to convene the first ever in-Country SMG conference on 10th December 2020. The essence of this conference will be to consolidate the gains made as a country in collaborating with Government, security agencies, the judiciary, the immigration and the office of the prosecutor on matters human trafficking.

SMG is an initiative of Pope Francis since April 2014. In his own words during the first conference, the Pope did not mince words when he said the following:

“Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”

Similarly, he went further to address the combined gathering of world leaders at that same conference and made a powerful statement which continues to inspire and resonate with our current efforts:

“The very fact of our being here to combine our efforts means that we want our strategies and areas of expertise to be accompanied and reinforced by the mercy of the Gospel, by closeness to the men and women who are victims of this crime.”

The SMG-Kenya lead, Fr Nicholas Makau has taken the first step to ensure that in Kenya, all actors come together to create the much desired synergy for more efficiency. “In response to our mandate as a faith-based group to serve all people and particularly the most vulnerable, and in the foot-steps of that first SMG conference, we intend to explore ways that can help towards the eradication of human trafficking in our country. We are convinced that through collaboration and commitment of all players, it is possible to end human trafficking and halt the suffering of so many people who have been engulfed into it.  Civil Society Organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, Faith Based Organizations and the Governments have named it candidly as a wound in the society, the ultimate slavery, the scourge against human dignity and exploitation of people, he states in his clarion call for unity of purpose.

“Among the key issues that surround human trafficking and other forms of exploitation is the incentives linked to it. Even after people see the suffering, torture, maiming and deaths related to human trafficking, others are still rued in to it. The aftermath of a returnee, (an attempted or successfully trafficked victim) leads to the problem of social stigma, re-integration and the need for physical healing. The protection of victims, the risk involved for those who denounce or expose perpetrators is also a reality. The issue of those who cross borders, and find themselves cloistered in ‘deathbed’ houses without any means to reach out. Those who manage to escape, enter into insecurity, isolation, no identity or travel documents and lack of finances to survive. Some have been re-trafficked and have entered into servitude or illegal business for survival. Others live in very pathetic health situations (in as long as they survive death, permanent health conditions and can do literally nothing for themselves again)”, Fr Makau continues.

As a group, SMG-Kenya Conference realizes how human trafficking has not only become a tool of slavery but has demeaned human dignity, with all its implication in a young nation like Kenya. The SMG-Kenya believes very strongly that sharing equips stakeholders and enriches interventions in order to forge common action on the same.

The human trafficking situation has been aggravated by the current reality of the COVID-19 among other social factors that have created greater potential for vulnerability and even favored opportunities for exploitation of more innocent people. The closure of places that offer jobs, increased use of uncontrolled online activities while emotional and mental instability have become easy to manipulate.

Fr. Makau concludes by stating that “the aim is not only to synergise but also to create awareness and produce priorities that can bring permanent solutions beyond 2020”.


In recent copies of our Newsletter I have been reflecting on the subject of Online Child Exploitation which is ‘sucking’ millions of children worldwide into a vortex of an ‘out-of-control’ porn industry.  This has happened because children of all ages have largely been confined to home due to the pandemic of Covid 19. This has inflicted untold damage on young minds today and it is happening right now as you read this article.  Just thirty years ago it was difficult to access porn but today it is freely available even on mobile phones. I find it first thing in the morning when I switch on my phone and at other odd times during the day.   I immediately delete/dismiss it for a number of reasons – it would just overwhelm and leave me sickened to watch such acts which are a grave insult to human dignity.  Each image is an abuse/s suffered by real people mainly women and children.

As Dr. Gail Dines in her book “Pornland” points out, there are 20,000 such new images posted on the Internet each week and people get paid for each of these images.  That is why porn is a multi-billion $ industry.  It is also the reason why more and more new/young/fresh victims of trafficking are needed to ‘keep the fires burning’ Also in the abuses suffered by children in these images, she says it is a “Real Child who is being abused in such a grotesque manner and it is possible to hear even the cries of the child as s/he is being abused”. Shocked is not the word for it but also sad to hear that young boys of 11-16 are caught up with this on the internet. We are living in an image society and have withdrawn somewhat from the printed word.  The media presents pretty women movies and glorifies ‘the Johns’ (by Victor Malerek). There are more hits a day for porn than Amazon, Twitter and Netflix combined. Hard porn is free and soft porn has to be paid for. There are 33.5 billion hits on the search engine, 100 million a day. Is there any solution to get rid of this? Try to get Laws passed to regulate it out of existence?  We cannot give out alcohol and cigarettes to young people but can give out porn.  This leaves men with erectile dysfunction and depression as well as being prone to violence.

How Can We Unite to Vote it Out?

Recently, a friend of mine shared some notes she had made after she attended a meeting in Boston, USA, which was organized by the office of the Mayor under the auspices of “Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation” (CEASE), of which Boston is one of ten cities engaged in this battle in USA.  After the opening remarks the first speaker was Anders Sunesson, Sweden, Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons, gave the history of the origin of the Nordic/Equality model as it took off in Sweden.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a great increase in men’s violence against women – does this sound a little like we have in Kenya and other African countries.  The Swedish Government decided that it needed to look into gender equality because it was easy to buy access into women’s bodies and they did not want this type of society for their children.

Legislation in Sweden

Initially there was great opposition to government interference by the women who said they choose prostitution.  The men said; ‘I have needs, I like porn, my wife does not agree, I am doing them (women in prostitution) a favor’ It was decided to criminalize the buyer for using someone else’s vulnerability.  Over time, the ratio decreased in opposition from 50/50 to 80/20.  Now it is safer in Sweden for a prostituted female as, not one woman has been murdered since 1999.  Today, Sweden is almost a ‘dead end’ for prostitution, e.g. if a man at Stockholm International Airport asks in any ‘duty free’ shop where he might call up and purchase a woman for an hour or a night, he can be reported by that shop assistant at the airport.  Around that time The Netherlands (Holland) legalized prostitution and the outcome in these two countries has been as different as day and night. Holland, criminalizes Human Trafficking and aims to control it by legislation.  But legalizing prostitution has driven it underground and as we know migrants and refugees are a prime target group for trafficking and being prostituted.

In 2014, the European Parliament passed a resolution considering prostitution to be violence against women and therefore should be legislated as a crime of violence. In this perspective, prostitutes are victims of sexual exploitation and not sex workers. Indeed the resolution states that prostitution and forced prostitution are both a cause and consequence of gender inequality which it aggravates. It goes on to highlight the fact that prostitution and forced prostitution are forms of slavery, incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights.


In the last one month, Kenya has been treated to a flurry of episodes where young teens (aged 14 – 18years) have been busted by the police engaging in highly immoral behavior. It all began with the 7 girls who disappeared into the thin air without their parents’ consent only to re-appear after their photos and appeals went viral on social media. The girls were reported to have been linked to gang like groups who thrive on underage cult-like practices as well as engaging in group sexual activities. Even though the girls claimed that they had taken a break away from the “suffocation” occasioned by routine stay at home, it was never the less clear that these teens may have been involved with possible exposure to unqualified online pornography and criminal groups.

The seven girls’ story above seemed to have demonstrated the rot perpetuated by the digital age technology and the lack of control alongside weak guidelines towards access for the same by teenagers. Within the same week of the above incident, another group of 44 underage teens (aged between 14 – 18 years) was arrested while holed up in a house at another suburb in Nairobi. The house where the group was found had plenty of alcoholic drinks and drugs (cannabis sativa/bang) besides dozens of used and unused condom packets………an indication that illicit sexual activities could have been taking place. Unlike the first group, this group of teenagers were reported to have been recruited from a wide geographical area covering Nairobi, Kiambu and Machakos Counties, according to the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU) of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

The final episode within the same week was reported to have involved another group of 21 underage teenagers who were busted and arrested by police while partying in celebration of a birthday for one of them. The teens, as reported by the AHTCPU had forged their ages to beat the underage cut off age for drinking alcohol.

What is the bottom line here?

Online digital technology has extensively been exploited by human traffickers and child abusers to achieve their desired goals. Yet, all this happens within the confines of our living and bed rooms where most teenagers spend hours on end chatting and meeting new acquaintances online. It is high time that the subject of online digital technology gets revisited to provide a more robust guideline on usage and the overall content access by different age groups.

Global perspective on Pornography

In a Global Summit in July this year entitled “End Sexual Exploitation 2020” presented a heart rending film involving survivors of child pornography addiction. According to the video, children do best when watching as they have photographic minds. According to research findings within the film, curiosity and access to child porn develops further interest and anxiety amongst young persons. Many parents do not understand what porn is all about yet 7 year olds bump onto porn and creates curiosity and anxiety and drives further interest.

Thirty years ago, porn was pretty difficult to find or come by. Adolescents hardly knew what porn was about.  Beginning 2007, all porn became available through videos that were even offered for free through iPhone and other smartphone devices. Smartphones and the emergence of internet connection created engine searches such as google and others through which pornography became an easy to find phenomenon.

The research for example discovered that Technology however is not the enemy; but rather the usage and understanding of the content that devices offer to users. Content generates curiosity and young people search for more information and answers in discrete ways without the notice of adults. Even though parents may bring up children with the correct values, it does not guarantee upright behavior as children are able to access porn content online. According to the researchers, children are normally more interested with nudity as they seek to learn how adults are ‘wired’

In Sweden alone, out of the 800,000 school going age children, 300,000 had already interacted with pornography by the age of 10 years and below. It all begins as video games before children bump onto free porn sites and they begin to share among themselves.  According to the research, porn addiction affects adult life as exemplified by some of the survivors who testified that they were unable to live a sexually active life after 18 years. Most porn addicts report that porn radiates sexual desire at a young age which leads to masturbation and eventually creates an escapism attitude and loss of confidence. At an extreme situation, the addiction leads to induced erectile dysfunction amongst addicts.

How does Porn Work

Among most youngsters, porn begins with exchange of naked selfies with an urge to experiment on sexual escapades which then lead to violent sexuality behavior.  According to Russ Tuttle, one of the researchers, “we are about to lose an entire generation to pornography”. How can device manufacturers be incorporated into this discussion to produce gadgets with specifications for children only? At another study involving 6,000 kids below the age of 10 years, 26% confirmed to have interacted with pornographic materials. The effects of porn addiction can be exhibited through unconventional dressing by young girls, listening to sexy music, diminished respect for social ethics and in other extreme cases, boys are reported to abuse their girlfriends by exposing them to their genitals. Other recorded effects of porn addiction include physical and emotional damage for boys aged between 14 – 18 years having premature ejaculations and splashing ensuing fluids onto their girlfriends. It is almost becoming a norm that online porn has normalized the negative culture that adults cannot accept as part of social ethics and it increases the level of youth violence and abuse.