“Counter Human Trafficking Trust-East Africa” (CHTEA) was registered in 2018 as a vehicle to continue the very successful work on counter human trafficking of an Irish Missionary, Sr Mary O’Malley, MMM based in Nairobi, Kenya. Having arrived in Kenya as a young missionary in 1980, Sr Mary of the congregation of the Medical Missionaries of Mary embarked on different assignments ranging from working for the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), as a team leader of Natural Family Planning, travelling to do Training and Co-ordination in the dioceses. She later took up Regional leadership of MMM Kenya. It was during this period that Mukuru Community Health Center was established, today it is a key Centre for Awareness on Counter Trafficking in a catchment area of almost one million people. Upon exiting from leadership and a sabbatical, Sr Mary embarked on an uncharted waters of counter human trafficking in 2006. During this period, she co-founded three other Kenyan organizations in the hope that her new ministry would find a posterity vehicle. However, it was not until 2018 that she cofounded CHTEA with three Kenyans. Since then, CHTEA has been on upward growth and development and is poised to become one of the leading institutions on the counter human trafficking sector in the East African region.
So far, CHTEA has a clear Strategic Plan and a strong Board of Trustees with capacity to steer our growth portfolio to attain high standards of both quality and impact in programming. The institution espouses virtues of good governance, transparency, integrity and accountability to both donors, partners and beneficiaries.
The year 2020 began with a lot of optimism and high expectation based on the mirrored success of 2019. The events preceding 2020 were a strong pillar in defining the new beginnings. Such events included building strengthened partnerships with both government institutions, civil society organizations and networks (both national, regional and international). On many fronts, CHTEA received strong recognition and salutation for providing leadership and participating in many priority areas within the sector.
The most significant defining moment for 2020 was the advent of Covid-19 pandemic. The virus was confirmed to have reached Kenya on 13th March 2020, with the initial cases reported in the capital city Nairobi and in the coastal area Mombasa county. By 23rd July 2020, Kenya confirmed fifteen thousand cases and six thousand recoveries. On 13th March, Kenya closed all her borders, suspended all forms of travelling and stringent restrictions such as social distancing, limited movement, social gatherings stopped and all schools and colleges were closed, among a raft of other measures.
With such a sudden turn of events, CHTEA quickly organized a meeting of the executive and deliberated on the way forward. One of the outcomes was that, working with government institutions would have to be mandatory since human trafficking was bound to take another form……more online and discrete movement of victims within the country.
In April 2020, CHTEA convened the first civil society sector virtual meeting to discuss the way forward in the context of the changed operating environment as informed by the Covid-19 restrictions. The meeting served as a platform for strategic thinking and focused leadership going forward. The meeting enabled the civil society sector players to prioritize actions and explore options for continued engagement even as the Covid-19 reality was dawning on everybody.
- The year began with a major rescue operation of the Ugandan Karamoja girls dubbed phase 1. A total of 96 girls were rescued and repatriated to Uganda in January, 2020. The rescue operation involved civil society organizations from both Kenya and Uganda; while the two governments of Kenya and Uganda were heavily involved too. A major breakthrough to the operation was the arrest of one trafficker who was arraigned in a Kenyan court of law to face justice. The success of the first phase ushered in a Karamoja Girls’ Rescue, Phase 2 in June 2020. CHTEA continues to provide the civil society leadership on this front and coordinates the interface between the Kenyan and Ugandan civil society interventions. To this end, a joint task force was established consisting of representatives from both sides of the border and chaired by CHTEA. Other institutions involved from the Kenyan side include, the Candle of Hope Foundation, East African Child Rights Network and Stop the Traffik Kenya. On the Ugandan side institutions included ‘Make a Child Smile’, ‘Dwelling Places’ and the ‘Uganda Child Rights Network’. The government of Kenya through the Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Secretariat under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection provided the overall leadership while the Embassy of Uganda in Nairobi provided counterpart leadership on the Ugandan government side.
- The Lebanon evacuation/rescue of trafficked and trapped Kenyans was also a major breakthrough for CHTEA during the reporting period. Having received the first report of a trafficked Kenyan in early June, CHTEA mobilised civil society and religious networks both within and outside of Kenya as well as the government. As this was happening, a huge bomb blast ripped through Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon; further degenerating an already fragile economic situation in Lebanon. Through a coordinated effort with others, mostly outside of Kenya, including Talitha Kum in Rome, CHTEA played a key role in the rescue and repatriation of over 125 Kenyans from Lebanon. It was also possible to screen a majority of the returnees (most confirmed having been trafficked in the guise of good jobs and incomes). They were offered help in the form of psycho-social support mostly to address post-traumatic stress disorders, medical care and over 20 victims have since received start up financial support to begin income generating activities. CHTEA has been offering business advisory services monitoring and evaluation, as well as receiving periodic reports (narrative and pictorial) against each beneficiary. The needs clearly outstretched our available resources but remain hopeful that more donations will be received from well-wishers. Human trafficking cases continued to be received online mainly from Saudi Arabia. Victims ranged from those trafficked for work to others whose promise was to be taken to more lucrative locations such as Dubai, Qatar or Kuwait but ended up in Saudi Arabia. Even with the Covid-19 the Advisory Committee, the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit, the Transnational Organized Crime Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; among other government institutions. During this reporting period, a total of 22 victims and 9 pre-victims were identified and rescued specifically related to Saudi Arabia alone. travel restrictions, CHTEA continued to work closely with the Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat,
B) Commemorating 30th July, “World Day of Counter Trafficking in Persons”
The United Nations set aside July 30th as the day to commemorate counter human trafficking or popularly known as the elimination of modern-day slavery around the world. During that day and with tightened restrictions related to Covid-19, CHTEA was able to achieve the following:
- Release of a special video documentary clip on the Karamoja Girls’ rescue phase1 via the Kenya Television Network (KTN) and circulated widely.
- A live morning TV show on KTN was aired with a panelist from CHTEA
- A special feature was released by the People Daily newspaper which focused on the impact of Covid-19 to human trafficking.
CHTEA was involved and participated in a number of high-profile conferences and engagements through-out the year. Involvement and participation took different forms ranging from being a coconvener to making presentations. Among the key conferences was the Santa Marta Group (SMG), a Catholic Church led institution (founded by Pope Francis) which brings together Bishops of the Catholic Church and Police Chiefs’ leadership to discuss matters of human trafficking.
SMG convened one conference in September where CHTEA presented a paper on the impact of Covid-19 on counter human trafficking efforts and in December, SMG-Kenya chapter co-hosted with CHTEA, a high-level conference for Kenya that brought together the government CTiP Secretariat, Judiciary, Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations), religious institutions and the civil society. Key presenters were from government (Judiciary, Directorate of Public Prosecutions and CTIP Secretariat), the Muslim leadership, the Catholic leadership on SMG and the civil society. The SMG-Kenya conference set the joint agenda for 2021.
During the reporting period, CHTEA was able to successfully carry out the following trainings on counter human trafficking:
- On request from the “Association of the Sisterhoods of Kenya” (AOSK), CHTEA delivered a virtual training for 250 participants drawn from all over Kenya and beyond. Sr Mary O’Malley, MMM was the lead trainer, assisted by Mutuku Nguli.
- Trained a group of 15 young members of a Community Based Organisation called Streetwise from the Kamukunji location in Nairobi. The group has been monitoring the arrival and distribution of the trafficked Ugandan Karamoja girls in Nairobi among other surveillance actions. The training was done under strict observance of the Covid-19 protocols as prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
- Jointly with the congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, CHTEA trained a total of 31 senior staff of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and Refugees. The training drew participants from all the 25 Catholic Dioceses in Kenya. The method of training was virtual.
- CHTEA delivered a counter human trafficking presentation to a group of 40 diocesan priests who had gathered for their Annual General Meeting under the Commission on InterReligious Dialogue and Ecumenism in Nairobi. The priests were drawn from all over Kenya.
- CHTEA was influential in deploying training and community awareness materials in remote areas of Kenya. Two such events were captured through the Yarumal Missionaries at the Diocese of Maralal where grassroots women were sensitized on issues of human trafficking. A counter trafficking “Training Manual” designed by Sr Mary O’Malley, MMM was highly valued and became the main training material for women in these farflung remote villages. This was followed shortly by an expose of a human trafficking corridor from Moyale border in Ethiopia to Nairobi. The second event was the training and awareness activities carried out by a CHTEA trained graduate, Sr Anita of the Daughters of Charity at the West Pokot remote villages of Chepnyal.
- CHTEA convened a sizeable cross section of victims from the Middle East upon the request of a research conglomerate called KANTRA. The latter was running a baseline study to prepare for a major research in 2021 to determine the data which explains the reasons for potential practices of enslavement in the Gulf region.
E).Training Plan for 2021
During the same reporting period, CHTEA received requests for three categories of training to be implemented in 2021:
- A second level training for the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Coordinators from across all the 25 Dioceses. The training to include coordinators for refugees and migrants
- A senior training for the Judiciary (Judges and Magistrates), the Directorate of Public Prosecutions
- Training for members of the Law Society of Kenya
- Training for the Loreto Sisters – Kangemi project
- A refresher training for Tanzania – The Platform
- Training the Media on the “Do No Harm” Principle reporting
- Community training for Hope Worldwide
F).Review of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act 2010
Kenya has used a 2010 Act of Parliament to deal with crimes related to human trafficking. The legislation has been used and tested for the last ten years. Following a consultative process, the CTIP Secretariat embarked on a review mission to address the gaps exhibited during the ten-year implementation period. CHTEA was contacted on the same and provided written feedback to the Government.
G).CHTEA as part of the Universal Peoples’ Right (UPR) process
The UPR process is a United Nations’ framework through which the Civil Society provides feedback alongside Government in respect of Trafficking in Persons actions in each country. In Kenya, the process is normally conducted consultatively and CHTEA has been acknowledged for her role in engaging with the process and contributing towards the final report for submission in Geneva, Switzerland.
H)The Tanzania Chapter
Since 2018 and following a comprehensive training of the stakeholders at MMM Faraja Centre,
Singida region in Tanzania, CHTEA instituted “Jukwaa la Kupambana na Ulanguzi wa Binadamu” (A Platform for Counter Human Trafficking). The platform brings together representatives from both government (national and local government) and non-governmental organisations including faith-based institutions. The platform’s Secretariat is based at the Faraja Center under the leadership of Sr Catherine O’Grady, MMM. During the reporting period, the platform received an elevated recognition from the government’s anti-trafficking in persons Secretariat in Dodoma; who went further and offered a more comprehensive induction and inclusion to national level engagement. The platform also continued to participate and engage with regional and continental conferences.
I)Partnership and Coordination
During 2020, CHTEA was able to work collaboratively and in partnership with other organizations to fulfil her mandate. In other instances, CHTEA offered overall coordination of specific events and activities. On the government front, CHTEA worked and continues to work very closely with the following institutions:
- Government: Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, the Judiciary, the National Police Service including the Directorate of Criminal Investigations under whose portfolio AntiHuman Trafficking and Child Protection Unit and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit fall, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Immigration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.
- Foreign Governments: Embassy of Uganda in Nairobi, Regionally, CHTEA engaged with East Africa Community and African Union (AU) as well as IOM and UNODC.
- Non-Governmental Organizations: CHTEA worked closely with the following institutions:
- The Santa Marta Group,
- “Religious Against Human Trafficking” (RAHT)
- Stop the Traffik Kenya,
- East Africa Child Rights Network,
- East African Civil Society Forum,
- The UPR process
- African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN),
- Candle of Hope Foundation
- Law Society of Kenya,
- Freedom Collaborative,
- Liberty Shared,
- Oxfam UK,
- Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)
- Loreto Sisters,
- Yarumal Missionaries,
- MMM Faraja Center in Tanzania,
- “Dwelling Places” (Uganda),
- “Make A Child Smile” (Uganda),
- Uganda Child Rights Network (Uganda),
- Talitha Kum (Rome),
- Caritas (Lebanon),
- Media houses
- Individual philanthropists among others.
- Key Statistics for CHTEA
|People reached through Awareness Raising
|Total number of staff (Team Trainer and Facilitator)
|Victims rescued (broken down as below)
|Victims Repatriated (mainly children from within Tanzanian and Ugandan border areas
|Rescue and repatriation of victims from Saudi Arabia
|Large in-flow of Victims from Lebanon due to bombing and other political and economic crises issues which deteriorated badly in 2020.
Workshops stopped in March due to Covid-19*