Mental Health: Engaging Survivors of Human Trafficking

Living Memories: Some sampled and memorable quotes from survivors.

Story One

The sponsor who bought me was hell, there was nothing good from that house from the moment I went there. He was threatening to kill me and I was not given food in the house. The employer was beating me and calling me names. One day while we were both in the kitchen, she was cutting onions and I was cleaning the table, she tried calling me to assist her but I was very busy and I never heard her calling. The madam got very angry and she took a knife and wanted to stub me to death. In self-defense, I struggled and held her hand so that she can drop the knife down. Afterwards, I ran downstairs and locked myself inside my room.

I tried calling the office but they never listened to me therefore I decided to run away but I was arrested by the police and detained. After 4 months, I was deported back to Kenya.

Story Two  

My work experience in Saudi Arabia was terrible. I was taken advantage of by the whole family. Even for the ten-year-old child, I was a monkey. During my work period, I was made to work like a donkey with no time to rest, I was not given food. I was made to sleep outside their house exposed to the heat and I was not allowed to shower. Furthermore, I was raped by the employer and his two sons. The family consisted of 8 children and one of them was disabled. I was required to nurse him and frequently change his diapers.

Story Three

The most horrifying thing that I will never forget during my working experience is that I was molested and assaulted. I was chained and raped by my employer. I was very scared after the threats that he gave me and I had no choice but to escape from that house and found help from the police and the Kenyan Embassy. While I was stranded on the streets, I saw a taxi coming and I stopped it. I requested the driver to take me to the Kenyan Embassy. Fortunately, there was a Kenyan lady inside the taxi and she asked me in Kiswahili “Una shida gani dadangu?” (Translated as “what is the problem my sister?”). I was like, “Thank God”, for the first time I have found a sister from my own country. This kind lady told me that she had also escaped from her employer and she was now living at her own house. I told her my story and afterwards she agreed to accommodate me.

The next day, she accompanied me to the Embassy but I was not assisted. There were no flights operating due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After some time, I missed my monthly menstrual period so I decided to buy the pregnancy test kit and after testing myself, I got the shock of my life to realize that I was pregnant. I informed the lady who was accommodating me who insisted that I should look for a job, which I did. Eventually, I move out and rented my own apartment but my aim was to go back home (Kenya). I decided to tell my mother the whole story. She was extremely shocked but she told me that I should not stop going back to the Embassy to know if there were any changes with the flights.

With time, I was heavily pregnant and I could not even get the part-time jobs I was surviving on. I thank God because at the 11th hour, the flights became operational once again. My parents had to sell a portion of our land so as to get money to buy me a flight ticket. I had to travel back to Kenya 2 days before delivery. Upon arrival, I was rushed to the hospital the same night after my water broke.  The next day, I delivered a “product” of rape. A son who looks exactly like the rapist. The more he stared at me while breastfeeding, the more I despised him because he reminds me of the horrible experience I went through.

The practice: Engaging Survivors of Human Trafficking

Survivors play a vital role in combating human trafficking. The survivor voice is vital in establishing effective anti-trafficking strategies that address prevention. protection and prosecution.

In an effort to eradicate human trafficking, CHTEA focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation, return/repatriation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking. CHTEA has since 2020 consolidated a network pool of over 300 survivors of human trafficking. The network creates a platform to share experiences, listen to each other, provide awareness channels to the would be victims, explore potential job opportunities and act as an advocacy vehicle.

The network is coordinated by volunteers who are also survivors. On the 1st of October 2022, CHTEA organized a meeting with a group of 25 survivors (mainly from the Middle-East countries) from the network. The goal of the meeting was to have a recollection day to discuss about their current situations since their return. Those in attendance returned between 2020 and 2022. The meeting also created a platform for the survivors to discuss the challenges experienced by the victims of trafficking and to give recommendations that could in future inform policy.

During the one-day recollection, the survivors were given an opportunity to provide a personalized reflection of their individual plights while working in the Middle-East countries. From their narrations which ranged from physical abuse, excessive working hours, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, threats to the individual, false promises, denied freedom of movement, denied medical treatment, denied food, withholding of wages and identity documents, the torture that victims of human trafficking go through was clearly depicted.

Key outcomes

  1. During the plenary discussions that arose after the individual written statements, it was discovered that most of the survivors still suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and some needed very urgent medical and psycho-social support. After the meeting, 15 survivors were admitted to the CHTEA run shelter/safe house to go through medical care and counseling for psycho-social support.
  2. The group unanimously and strongly spoke about the effects of their trauma on their children. Some of the teenage children had resorted to total hatred for their mothers while the younger ones seem to have been traumatized by their experience in the hands of relatives while they were away. In fact, one participant lost her 10-year-old child through torture by relatives. A majority testified that their children lived in fear unlike before. They made an urgent and passionate appeal that CHTEA considers bringing the children on board for psycho-social support once schools close in December. This, they insisted was an inevitable action if CHTEA was to realize a long-term reintegration of the families. A total of 29 children were registered by the returnees/survivors for the rehabilitation project.

At the closure of the meeting, it was agreed that such meetings should be held more frequently so as to engage the survivors and create a platform where they can share their experiences, ventilate their emotions and make recommendations to various stakeholders based on the challenges of labour migration.

Another group of 25 will be convening first week of November to go through a similar reflection. This group will have mixed gender representation.

Afganistan – Bacha Bazi Cultural Practice

Diaspora News: Feature

DID YOU KNOW……………………………………………………………………THAT……

In Afghanistan, there exists this centuries-old heinous practice called “Bacha Bazi” (Persian for “Boy Play”).

Well, it is a custom consisting of systematic sexual abuse of young boys by older men. The boys range from the age of 9 to 18 years. The boys are either coerced, kidnapped or purchased, and are forced into “sexual entertainment”. They’re made to dress like women and dance in a sensual manner in the gathering of older men. Child prostitution and sexual slavery also forms a part of it. The men making these boys do these things are often powerful, and could be warlords, police officials, politicians, tribal leaders, or other influential men. Often, these men consider owning “dancing boys” as a symbol of high social status.

The boys live a life of misery, suffering rape, abuse, and other kinds of exploitation. If they try to escape, they’re beaten or even killed. Those who succeed to escape are shunned by their families and the society, and end up becoming beggars, drug addicts, or criminals, while also enduring the consequences of their abuse. When the boys become too old for this vile custom, many of them get into the business of child trafficking, as in bringing young boys to the pedophiles engaging in Bacha Bazi.

When Taliban came to power in the 90s, they outlawed this practice, but it was hardly enforced. Sometimes, the victims were punished instead of the actual perpetrators. After the ouster of the Taliban 2001, Bacha Bazi increased exponentially, with the authorities and security forces often being either direct perpetrators or complicit in the exploitation of children.

During the presence of the US troops in Afghanistan, many American soldiers were disgusted upon seeing these young boys being exploited like this. However, as per a report by NY Times, their higher ups instructed them to not interfere, as doing so might mean that their Afghan allies that were fighting besides them against the Taliban, may turn hostile. However, some soldiers did act though, for example when an Afghan police officer raped a 12-year old boy, he got severely beaten up by two US special forces soldiers. The soldiers were initially separated from their unit involuntarily, but were later reinstated.

In the last decade, the Afghan government made several promises of investigating and severely punishing child sexual abusers in the military. However, despite their promises, the cases kept on rising. And now that Taliban is back in power, there’s obviously no way that any government from the outside can pressure them to act on it.

As of today, Bacha Bazi still remains a widespread practice in Afghanistan, with more and more young boys falling prey to powerful pedophiles, having their lives ruined forever. It is shameful that this “cultural practice”, which is not only disturbing but downright evil, finds its place in the 21st century.

Tight gender segregation in Afghan society and a lack of contact with women have contributed to the spread of Bacha Bazi. In Afghanistan, women are not allowed to dance in public; instead, boys are being used. Male dominant culture has contributed to the spread of this practice. Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, but those involved in Bacha Bazi justify their actions by saying that, since they are not in love with these boys, it doesn’t apply.

The perpetrators are not being held responsible for crimes they commit, therefore, impunity and gender inequality continue to contribute to the spread of the practice. The factors such as a lack of legislative frameworks, inadequate rule of law, a weak justice system, a corrupt judicial system, illiteracy, poverty, powerful militias groups involved in the practice, and instability, have also contributed to the spread of the practice. According to military experts in Afghanistan, the lawlessness that followed the deposing of the Taliban’s in rural Pashtun and northern Afghanistan gave rise to violent expressions of pedophilia. The Pashtun rural culture is mostly male dominated and misogynistic, which gives rise to a system of gender reversal. Factors such as chronic instability, gender inequality, displacement, inadequate services, access constraints and discriminatory practices fueled the underreporting of conflict-related sexual violence across Afghanistan, contributing to the rise of Bacha Bazi.

Addressing Human Trafficking in Burundi

Burundi is a landlocked East African country bordering Tanzania and Rwanda. The majority of its population faces extreme poverty, with 65% of Burundians falling below the poverty line. In Bujumbura, the country’s capital, agricultural workers earn an average wage of 3,000 francs ($1.82) per day. In rural areas, the minimum wage is a third of the capital city’s, forcing rural workers to make ends meet on less than a dollar a day. Many Burundians lack access to clean water and basic sanitation and less than 5% have electricity. In addition to a high rate of extreme poverty, political instability and widespread violence have led to an increase in human trafficking in Burundi.

Trafficking in Supply Chains and “Cash Crops”

The Education Policy Data Center found that, as of 2014, 62% of Burundians aged 15-24 never complete primary education. Child labour is common, especially in agriculture. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Government of Burundi found, in a collaborative study, that child labour was commonly used to harvest “cash crops” such as coffee. Forced labour also occurs, sometimes because of human trafficking.

Gold mining is another Burundian industry plagued by human trafficking. According to the U.S. State Department, children and young adults often fall victim to forced labour in the gold mines surrounding the city of Cibitoke. The U.S. State Department also finds that traffickers try to recruit people they know into forced labour.

Children are the most common victims since they are easier to mislead and exploit for monetary gain. Burundi’s primary catalysts for human trafficking are its major industries. Implementing anti-trafficking protocols within these industries and refusing to buy exports produced using forced labour and trafficking would go a long way toward ending human trafficking in Burundi.

The Impact of Human Trafficking on Burundian Families

Young women and children are especially vulnerable to human trafficking. Many leave their families because of traffickers’ false promises of “good jobs,” which women and children see as their only chance to escape poverty. Human trafficking also causes emotional trauma for families with members who have been trafficked. NGOs working in the area believe that between 500 and 3,000 young women from Burundi became trafficking victims in the Middle East between 2015 and 2016.

OLCT, a Burundian NGO that stops transnational crime, reported that at least 527 girls and women arrived in Middle Eastern countries in 2017 as a result of human trafficking. Additionally, more than 250 girls and women arrived in the Middle East in 2018. According to the chairman of OLCT, Qatar is the most common place internationally trafficked Burundian girls end up in due to preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

Human trafficking in Burundi and the exploitation of young girls for monetary gain is a major problem in Burundi. However, ending human trafficking is possible with the proper prevention programs. Burundians stand to benefit both emotionally and economically from greater support from both the African and international communities in preventing human trafficking and keeping families together.

Ending Human Trafficking in Burundi

In April 2021, the Ugandan police intercepted a human trafficking caravan in transit to another nation. The police saved 29 Burundian girls and arrested and charged five human trafficking racket suspects. According to a Ugandan police spokesperson, the girls’ destination was likely the sex trade. Uganda is a transit country for traffickers bringing girls into other countries. Human trafficking in Burundi and Africa as a whole will end only if bordering nations cooperate with each other. Uganda’s rescue of 29 young girls displays what can happen when nations work together.

The Burundi Counter-Trafficking Project

Gaston Sindimwo, the vice president of Burundi as of 2019, says that fighting human trafficking requires universal respect for human rights and the understanding that human trafficking is a global issue. In 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) partnered with the Burundian Government to launch Burundi Counter-Trafficking, a project to strengthen the government’s capacity to fight human trafficking.

The Netherlands has fully funded the $3 million project, which will run until the end of 2022. Caecilia Wijgers, the Netherlands’ ambassador to Burundi as of 2019, stressed the need to protect people suffering exploitation and deception. Funding from the Netherlands has limited the number of trafficking rackets in the past few years and has allowed Burundi to work with its neighbors to stop trafficking throughout the continent.

The Burundi Counter-Trafficking project is helping reduce human trafficking in Burundi. However, much work still lies ahead in order to end the exploitation of Burundians and ensure no more families suffer as a result of human trafficking.

– Curtis McGonigle

Fostering Recruitment Agencies Ethical Practices

Kenya’s Magical NUMBER (0800222223): Handover

After years of effort, the Kenya government finally emerged a step closure to realizing a major achievement in the rescue and repatriation of trafficked Kenyans in the diaspora. This was made possible through the National Employment Authority (NEA) with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who jointly implemented the “Fostering Recruitment Agencies’ Ethical Practices and Accountability” project as well as supporting the government of Kenya to pilot a recruitment oversight and community feedback mechanism to prevent trafficking in persons. Funded by the US Department of State Office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, through the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), the project was implemented from November 2020 to October 2022.

The project which as steered by a technical committee set up by the Minister for Labour and Social Protection in 2020 was officially inaugurated in July 2021. The committee drew membership from a multi-agency government team who incorporated non-state actors. CHTEA was one among three Civil Society Organisations nominated by the Minister to sit at the technical committee.

The oversight mechanism was however established in June 2021, through a collaborative process involving key labour migration stakeholders from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), non-state actors at National and County levels as well as communities at the grass root level. The Oversight Mechanism and Community Feedback Mechanism will serve to monitor the Kenya Labour Recruitment industry and identify Private Recruitment Agencies operating unethically.

Some of the key achievements accomplished under this project include;

  1. The establishment of a 9-member Advisory Committee and the Multi-Stakeholder Technical Committee to provide technical guidance to the National Employment Authority (NEA) on the operations of the Oversight Mechanism.
  2. The establishment of the Toll-Free Hotline 0800222223.
  3. The development of the distress reporting tool which is accessible through the NEA Information and Management System ( Through the system, Kenyan migrants in distress can report their cases and those seeking to get a job abroad can get a list of private recruitment agencies registered by the National Employment Authority (NEA).
  4. Over 100 Private Recruitment Agencies (PRAs) were trained using the IOMs International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS). Out of the 100 trained PRAs, 46 expressed interest to proceed and enroll in the IRIS capacity building program. 17 PRAs are currently enrolled in the IRIS capacity building training, with 2 agencies already undergoing a maturity assessment.

To ensure sustainability and continuous awareness creation at the community level, the project has trained over 250 resource persons on the Oversight and Community Feedback Mechanism in the five pilot counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Nandi and Busia. This led to the development and dissemination of the key labour migration guidelines and procedures which were translated to Kiswahili language for ease of understanding by the public. These include;

  1. A guide to safe labour migration.
  2. Information guide on the National Employment Authority Information Management System (NEAIMS).
  3. Regulations on the Private Recruitment Agencies and key sections of the labour institutions Act, 2007.

Additionally, as an exit strategy, the 22-member multi-Stakeholder committee on the oversight and community feedback mechanism held a technical committee meeting on the 23rd of September 2022 to review their terms of Reference (TORs) towards the establishment of sub-committees as per the agreed thematic areas which include;

  1. Migration Governance and Compliance.
  2. Capacity Building and Outreach.
  3. Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning.
  4. Media publicity and Advocacy.

The sub-committees will be composed of at least 5 members and shall report to the larger committee. The Ministry of Labour, NEA and IOM will act as secretariat to the sub-committees and the meetings will be held once per month before the technical advisory committee meetings or as per need basis.

To mark the closure of this project, IOM in collaboration with NEA, organized a one-day closing workshop on Tuesday 11th October 2022 at the Crown Plaza Hotel.  In attendance were key labour migration stakeholders from Government, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), members of the Multi-Stakeholder Technical Committee and representatives from the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Private Recruitment Agencies (PRAs).


Prioritizing Mental Health in Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a global challenge, with an estimated 50 million people exploited in the Asia-Pacific region, in Africa, in Latin America and the Caribbean, in central and south-eastern Europe, in the European Union and developed economies, and in the growing informal labour market in  Middle East (International Labour Office, 2022).  Trafficking in Persons is a human rights violation that occurs around the world. Many survivors of trafficking have mental health problems, specifically symptoms of anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  A study on mental health that was carried out with women in Nepal who were trafficked for sex work and various forms of labor (n=164) found that sexually exploited women reported higher levels of anxiety, depression and PTSD than did women exploited for other purposes.

One of the main programs and initiatives through which CHTEA responds to the emerging human trafficking dynamic in Kenya is through; Rescue, Rehabilitation, Return and Re-integration of victims/survivors of trafficking (VOTs). CHTEA has a Liaison Officer based at Beirut, Lebanon and covers the larger Gulf Region. The Officer also manages a small rescue facility based at Beirut as she seeks to work with like-minded organizations to seek shelter services for VOTs and also raise funds to facilitate their travel tickets back to Kenya.

Upon arrival in Kenya, the survivors/victims are received at the airport by CHTEA Nairobi staff upon which they are taken through an assessment. Some of them are referred to the shelter/safe house (managed by CHTEA) for medical and psycho-social support. Some of the survivors usually arrive in very bad states of mind and some may not even recognize their family members. It’s very disheartening that the victims suffer extremely traumatizing experiences that make some of them end up developing long term mental disorders.

Case study

During one of the routine pick-ups from the airport in early July 2022, family members and CHTEA staff received one, Betty (not her real name) who suffered from extreme Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She was mentally unstable. Betty had traveled to Nairobi from Lebanon in the company of another two survivors who acted as Betty’s minders. “When you called us at Addis airport, we had lost track of Betty and we had to report to the airport security in order to help us locate her since our connecting flight was delayed by 2 hours”, said Agnes (not her real name), one of the returnee minders. When the group finally arrived at Nairobi airport, Betty was again lost at the baggage area waiting to identify her suitcase. Even though the flight arrived at 1.00pm,

Betty had not come out of the airport precincts 4 hours later. Eventually, the waiting team got concerned and after enquiring from the airport customer care desk, an officer retorted that, “there is a mentally unstable lady detained by the security inside at the check-out office.” Betty’s sister and CHTEA staff approached the security desk and explained that the detained lady was indeed a sister to Ruth. Betty was shortly escorted out to the delight of the waiting Ruth (sister). She was warmly received by the entire team and escorted to have a cup of coffee at a nearby restaurant. Even though Betty could not believe that she was in Kenya, she could be seen gazing around in amazement.

After going through a brief screening interview by a CHTEA staff, it was discovered that Betty was suffering from a mental health breakdown and that she could hardly comprehend what was happening. Inadvertently, Betty would describe her experience in Lebanon as a great saying that she was treated very nicely and even given off-days (which was not the case).

Ruth’s family requested to take her home despite the advice given that she could be referred to the shelter for medical and psychosocial support. The family pledged to ensure that she received instant care for both her medical/mental and psychosocial needs. A follow up schedule was agreed with the family – 4 to 5 monitoring visits were made to the family to check out on Betty’s recovery path. She made great strides in improvement.

Although traumatic experience while being trafficked may induce or exacerbate mental disorders, poor mental health may also increase vulnerability to trafficked victims in the context of weak decision-making capacity and increased dependency on others. Trafficked individuals’ risk of mental disorder appears to be influenced by multiple factors, including pre-trafficking abuse; duration of exploitation; violence and restrictions on movement while being trafficked. Others include greater volumes of unmet needs and lower levels of social support following trafficking.

In conclusion, mental health problems are prevalent among trafficked people while survivors often require support to recover from the psychological impact of their experiences. Mental health professionals have a key role to play in responding to human trafficking. Awareness raising and training are required to ensure professionals are prepared to respond to trafficking and to safely identify and refer trafficked people to the care that they need and deserve.

CHTEA has a clear referral pathway beginning with individual assessments (to identify needs) which then leads to the design of a care plan which incorporates the array of professionals needed to provide the desired services. Such include psychiatrists, psycho-social therapists, hospitals, social workers (for family reintegration programmes), sociologists and internal administrators who coordinate service delivery and logistics. In situations where legal serviced are required, CHTEA has collaborative frameworks with among others “Kituo Cha Sheria”, a pro-bono legal NGO, FIDA Kenya, the Coalition on Violence Against Women, among others. In case a trafficker is to be arrested or in matters of investigation, CHTEA works closely with the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) and the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU); both of which are within the jurisdiction of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Human Trafficking: Eye on South Sudan

The Republic of South Sudan is a nation within the East African Community and is always least reported on matters human trafficking. This is arguably partly due to the prolonged internal strife, longstanding conflict and instability. As a result, conflict-related, sexually violent crimes throughout the country have had an unwavering presence while human trafficking in South Sudan is also prevalent. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) documented 224 cases of sexual violence , 19 men, 66 girls and six boys in 2019 according to the Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Report of the United Nations Secretary-General.

Against a backdrop of conflict, related governance challenges and mixed migration, including forced displacement and transit migration, corroborated reports and anecdotes suggest that the following forms of internal and transnational trafficking in persons (TiP) are perpetrated in South Sudan: forced recruitment by armed forces and armed groups, forced marriage, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and labour exploitation.

South Sudan has yet to make significant progress in eliminating the human trafficking problem that threatens the country. This has caused the nation to remain in the Tier 3 category according to the United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons report for 2021. Countries that fall within the Tier 3 category risk possible restrictions and the loss of U.S. assistance. The following are some facts about human trafficking in South Sudan that can help motivate action, as well as raise awareness of the threats and dangers that so many throughout the country experience:

  1. Women are the key targets: Traffickers most frequently sexually exploit women in South Sudan’s capital–Juba–as well as Nimule, a city in the country that borders Uganda. Besides this reality, women and girls are more vulnerable to domestic servitude throughout the country and outside the borders. It is not uncommon for male occupants of the household to sexually abuse the women of the house or force them to engage in commercial sex acts.
  2. Both internal and foreign victims are at risk of human traffickers exploiting them in South Sudan. Organized networks of traffickers cut across North, Central and East Africa and leave East African migrants and those transiting through South Sudan vulnerable to abduction, sex trafficking and forced labour.
  3. Unaccompanied or orphaned children experience an increased risk of trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation. For example, unaccompanied minors in refugee camps or internally displaced children are particularly in danger of traffickers abducting them.
  4. Some factors prevent victims from reporting traffickers. Internal factors such as social stigma and fear of punishment can often discourage victims of trafficking from reporting the crimes and transgressions that traffickers committed against them to the government’s law enforcement officers.
  5. South Sudan thus far has had limited success in implementing proper strategies to address the dangers of human trafficking. Increasing the rule of law and ensuring that investigations translate into arrests and prosecutions is just one step the government must take to eliminate its trafficking problem. As the Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Report of the United Nations Secretary-General noted, “Strengthening the capacity of national rule of law institutions is critical in order to advance credible and inclusive accountability processes for past crimes, as well as for prevention and deterrence of future crimes.”

With support from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, over 700 officers of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, as well as 150 SPLA-IO/RM (the pro-Riek Machar Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition) officers, received training focused on legal frameworks prohibiting the use of sexual violence. The SPLA-IO/RM also issued four command orders, with one of these orders instructing its commanders to form committees to investigate cases of sexual violence.

UNMISS continues to work with local commanders to encourage the release and referral of abducted women and children to appropriate support structures. Political advocacy is persistent and ongoing to secure the release of all female and child trafficking victims and reduce human trafficking in South Sudan.

Involvement of senior Government Officials

On March 25, 2022, a senior official at the South Sudan Embassy was being investigated, over suspected links to child trafficking. The official was probed alongside a brother to a South Sudan Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Peter Mayen Majondit. Police identified the brother as Santos Machok Majong. This was after detectives rescued fourteen South Sudanese children from an apartment at Kilimani area, Nairobi.

The alleged trafficked children were being moved from one apartment to the other, to avoid raising eyebrows. At some point, the children were believed to have been held at an apartment near Rusinga School, at Lavington Green, Nairobi. It was even claimed that the children were being moved around using diplomatic vehicles.

It was not until DCI detectives from the Child Protection Unit raided Marcus Garvey Apartment at Kilimani, that the children were rescued.

The rescued children consisted of seven girls and seven boys and they were all under the age of 15. A woman, whose identity was not immediately established, and believed to be the caregiver, was also arrested. Upon rescue, the children were taken to a Children Rescue Centre as police continued with investigations.

Commemoration of the International Day Against Trafficking in Persons

This year’s National commemoration of the international day against trafficking in persons in Kenya took place at Nairobi’s Eastlands surbarb or Huruma. The choice of Huruma as a national focus for the event was symbolic of the challenging environment faced by densely populated and impoverished areas of the urban setting, the world over.

In collaboration with the Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Secretariat through the Ministry of Public Service and Social Protection and in conjunction with the Advisory Committee, CHTEA spearheaded the coordination, presentation by survivors and the participatory process of the event.

The chief guest at the event was the Chair of the Advisory Committee. A key not speech was read by a representative of the Cabinet Secretary. Other key dignitaries included representatives from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Religious Against Human Trafficking (RAHT), the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and other Civil Society Organizations.

From a cross-section of the public feedback, those present affirmed that human trafficking was a reality and more prevalent within the informal settlements of the urban settings and the rural areas of Kenya. In a participatory way, the public feedback demonstrated deep understanding of the human trafficking dynamic and especially among the young population; mainly of female gender.

The 2022 Global theme was the “Use and Abuse of Technology”. Three survivors were at hand to demonstrate how technology was use and abused before, during and after their ordeals. They recounted how recruitment was perpetuated during the Covid advent by the use of technology………..use of phones, emails, online advertisement of jobs and pornographic sites, among other ways.

Below is a pictorial presentation of the day’s proceedings:

Group photo taken during the National Commemoration of the World Day Against Human Trafficking in Kenya. Stakeholders present included representatives from Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Secretariat, the Advisory Committee, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Religious Against Human Trafficking (RAHT), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, and various other institutions.

CHTEA Executive Patron, Sr. Mary O’Malley (left) during a conversation with Ms. Pravina Gurung, Programme Manager, IOM Kenya on the sidelines of the event.



One of the participants sharing their story about human trafficking during the commemoration of the World Day Against Human Trafficking Huruma grounds, Nairobi.

New Release: 2022 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery (Human Trafficking)

The International Labour Organization (ILO), Walk Free and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released the 2021 Global and Regional Estimates report. The estimates indicate that there are 50 million people living in situations of modern slavery on any given day, either forced to work against their will or in a marriage that they were forced into. This number translates to nearly one of every 150 people in the world. Through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community has committed to ending modern slavery among children by 2025, and universally by 2030.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the risk of modern slavery and made the road to the 2025 and 2030 target dates an even more difficult one. The principal sources of data are from nationally representative household surveys – 68 forced labor surveys and 75 forced marriage surveys – jointly conducted by ILO and Walk Free, as well as the Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC) anonymized case data set on victims of trafficking collected by IOM and its partners.

According to the report, Modern slavery refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, deception, abuse of power or other forms of coercion. It comprises of two principal components – forced labour and forced marriage. The 2021 Global Estimates indicates that 49.6 million people are living in situations of modern slavery on any given day, either forced to work against their will or in a marriage that they were forced into. Forced labour accounts for 27.6 million of those in modern slavery and forced marriage for 22 million.

Forced labour as set out in the ILO Forced Labor Convention, 1930, refers to “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” Women and girls make up 11.8 million of the total in forced labour. More than 3.3 million of all those in forced labor are children. A simple comparison with the 2016 global estimates indicates an increase of 2.7 million in the number of people in forced labour between 2016 and 2021. The initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic were accompanied by widespread reports of forced labour linked to the crisis.

Forced labor is highest in the Arab states at 5.3 per thousand people, compared to 4.4 per thousand in Europe and Central Asia, 3.5 per thousand in both America, Asia and Pacific regions and 2.9 per thousand in Africa. It is reported that 86% of all forced labour is imposed by private agents – 63% in forced labour and 23% in forced commercial sexual exploitation. State imposed forced labour accounts for the remaining 14% of people in forced labour. The initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic were accompanied by widespread reports of forced labour linked to the crisis. More than half of all forced labour occurs in either upper- middle income or high-income countries. People in forced labour are subjected to multiple forms of coercion to compel them to work against their will. Women in forced labour are much more likely than their male counterparts to be in domestic work. Migrant workers face a higher risk of forced labour than other workers. An estimated 6.3 million people are in situations of forced commercial sexual exploitation on any given day. This number includes 1.7 million children in commercial sexual exploitation. Over half of all children in forced labour are in commercial sexual exploitation. It is reported that 3.9 million people were in state-imposed forced labour at any point in time in 2021.

Forced marriage refers to situations where a person has been forced to marry without their consent. As set out in the joint general recommendations of the UN’s committee and the Committee on Rights of the Child (CRC), child marriage is considered a form of forced marriage.  An estimated 22 million people were living in forced marriage on any given day in 2021. Women and girls make up 14.9 million of this total. This is a 6.6 million increase in the number of people living in a forced marriage between 2016 and 2021. Nearly two-thirds of all forced marriages, an estimated 14.2 million, are in Asia and the Pacific. This is followed by 14.5 % in Africa (3.2 million) and 10.4 % in Europe and Central Asia (2.3 million). Women and girls subjected to forced marriage account for 14.9 million. Three in every five people in a forced marriage are in lower-middle income countries. It was noted that family members were responsible for the vast majority of forced marriages. Half of those living in forced marriages were coerced using emotional threats or verbal abuse. The report indicates that once they were forced to marry, there is a greater risk of sexual exploitation, violence and domestic servitude and other forms of forced labour.

It was noted that COVID-19 has exacerbated the underlying drivers of all forms of modern slavery including forced marriage.

In conclusion, some of the key policy priorities recommended for addressing forced labour and forced marriage in the lead up to the 2030 target date for ending modern slavery were mentioned as follows:

  • Respect for the freedom of workers to associate and to bargain collectively is indispensable to a world free from forced labour.
  • Extend social protection, including floors, to all workers and their families.
  • Promote fair and ethical recruitment.
  • Strengthen the reach and capacity of public labour inspectorates.
  • Ensure protection for people freed from forced labour.
  • Ensure access to remedy for people freed from forced labour.
  • Address migrant’s vulnerability to forced labour and trafficking for forced labour.
  • Address children trapped in forced labour.
  • Mitigate the heightened risk of forced labour and trafficking for forced labour in situations of crisis.
  • Legislative and policy responses should have a gendered lens as women and girls are disproportionately.
  • Ensure adequate civil and criminal protections in national legislation.
  • Address underlying social-cultural norms and structures that contribute to forced marriage.
  • Invest in building the agency for women and girls.
  • Protect the rights of those vulnerable to forced marriage and trafficking for forced marriage.
  • Address the vulnerability of migrants, particularly children.

Finally, it was acknowledged that reliable information and statistics on forced labour, forced marriage, and human trafficking are critical to promoting awareness and understanding of the problem, and to inform policy responses.