Dear Sisters And Brothers– I offer to each of you Today

A cry from the heart of Mary.

A call to hear the pain

Of the hearts of millions

Our very own sisters and brothers too.

Women, children they cry.

Can we listen? dare we listen?

Can they touch our hearts?

Lead us out beyond our petty cares.

The downtrodden and impoverished

These must pull our hearts.

Till all we thought we knew before,

Now turns us full circle,

To see the past with thanks, and

Standing in this precious moment now

With thoughtful, pondering hearts.

Dare we glimpse the future

Bringing us to this new dawn,

A different way - and

Hold the hands of those abused,

Embrace them as our sisters now

Hold them in the warm embrace

Of visitation moment,

Where new life stirs.

To set them free and feel new life again,

And in the freeing and the opening,

we can change our world.

just for a while and know,

The founding charism

Tingle in our every cell & bones,

and breathe new life in all of us,

and feel the heart of Mary,

throb in our very souls,

at each new day a call.

Where love & misery meet,

and we become life bearers of compassion,

from deep within the heart of God”


Sr. Mary O’ Malley, MMM

A near Global Rescue Mission.


In what started as a simple visit by a known relative at a small village in Kisii, Kenya, some two young girls aged 16 and 17, vanished momentarily without a trace. The two had been attending a vocational college/school near their home. The two girls were unfortunately young mothers and were as well cousins. This happened during a short break/holiday during which time, the two stayed with their grand-mother before a maternal aunt visited them and convinced them to accompany her to the city where she was working as a bar tender.

Cause for Alarm

The college Principal had a rude shock when other students reported for the new term and the two girls were missing for two weeks before he enquired of their whereabouts. He visited their home which was not far from the college and he was informed that they had been taken to Nairobi for passport processing so that they could travel to the Gulf countries as domestic workers.  Since the college is co-founded between a Kenyan and an American citizen, the Principal immediately sent out an alert signal to the founder in US who in turn alerted another human rights activist based in Europe.

The European activist immediately released an alert message to one specific support network in Kenya calling for help to intercept the girls from exiting. This was almost turning out to be a global effort and different actors seemed to offer their strategic advantage input towards the rescue effort.

The Role of a Sub-Regional Civil Society Organization (CSO)

This alert was swiftly picked by a senior staff at CHTEA who mobilized emergency interception measures while coordinating with the college Principal on the ground who was briefed to gather verified data from the homestead where these girls disappeared from. The most immediate action was to verify that the two minors were still within the borders of Kenya. Interception would have been a feasible idea in this case. On the same day evening, the college Principal proceeded and pitched camp at the girls’ grandmother homestead where the girls were last seen. His mission was simple, to know who took the girls away and where they were destined for in Nairobi and explore if there could be some forwarding address or contacts to trace the girls. This information was to be relayed back to CHTEA for further processing and determination of next steps.

The Saga Comes Full Circle

As fate would have it, the Principal was forced to wait for the girls’ grandmother for hours on end as she had visited local market to sell farm produce. As darkness was approaching, the grandmother arrived home and a discussion about the girls’ whereabouts ensued. As the grand mother was briefing the Principal, the two girls suddenly appeared from the shadows of the night. The homestead mood immediately changed from lamentation to celebration and welcomed back the two girls. The girls were able to offer first hand narration of what had happened.

The two girls were shocked to find the Principal at their grand-mother’s compound at that hour of the evening. They were given a chance to explain their escapades. They had been away for two weeks and their grandmother was worried that they would miss out in their vocational training. After exchanging pleasantries, the girls settled down and shared their adventure to the city.  They explained that their aunt had lied to them that they could get passports to enable them travel to the Gulf countries for domestic work which was essentially considered a short cut to making quick money to support their babies. “Our aunt introduced us to prostitution by placing us among other equally young girls in a closed room where we were forced to be picked by male clients. We were not allowed to wear our under pants which made us feel naked but the lady who supervised us could hear none of our concerns”, said the elder one. “I kept crying and asking for mercy even from the male clients who chose me for their pleasure”, said the 16 year old.

The girls expressed regret for agreeing to be taken away from college and being deceived that there were better opportunities in Nairobi than back in Kisii. The two girls have been reintegrated back to the college life and are still undergoing counselling.

This matter was extensively discussed between CHTEA, the College Principal and the US based founder of the vocational college. After an intensive online meeting, it was agreed that an immediate opportunity should be given to the two girls by CHTEA for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder counselling in Nairobi during the next two weeks. This intervention will begin the journey of restoring them to their former selves prior to their ordeal in Nairobi.

A New Venture in Counter Human Trafficking

Further discussions also agreed on an intensive awareness campaign by the CHTEA and the college targeting the college community (students, parents and the larger community). An annual awareness programme is being developed to saturate the entire village with targeted messages and capacity enhancement to counter any future such attempts to recruit for human trafficking.

The case above was pure child trafficking and it was aided by a close relative through deception and abuse of authority by an adult. The matter has been reported to the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Nairobi for further investigation and possible prosecution of the main culpable offender and others associated with her criminal activities.


Social media presents ‘profound risk of harm’ for kids, surgeon general says, calling attention to lack of research

There’s not enough evidence to determine whether social media is safe enough for children and adolescents when it comes to their mental health, according to a new advisory from the US surgeon general. 

Tuesday’s advisory notes that although there are some benefits, social media use presents “a profound risk of harm” for kids. It calls for increased research into social media’s impact on youth mental health, as well as action from policymakers and technology companies. 

The 25-page advisory comes as a growing number of states are aiming to tighten regulations on social media platforms, including efforts in Montana to ban TikTok. 

Surgeon general advisories are designed to call attention to urgent public health issues and provide recommendations for how they should be addressed, the new report notes. Previous advisories have focused on youth mental health more broadly, health misinformation and use of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone

“We’re in the middle of a youth mental health crisis, and I’m concerned that social media is contributing to the harm that kids are experiencing,” Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Parenting in the era of ubiquitous screens and social media 

“For too long, we have placed the entire burden of managing social media on the shoulders of parents and kids, despite the fact that these platforms are designed by some of the most talented engineers and designers in the world to maximize the amount of time that our kids spend on them,” he said. “So that is not a fair fight. It’s time for us to have the backs of parents and kids.” 

The advisory includes a review of the available evidence on the effects of social media on youth mental health, noting that social media use among kids is “nearly universal”: Up to 95% of kids ages 13 to 17 report using social media, with more than a third saying they use it “almost constantly.” And although 13 is commonly the minimum age to use social media sites in the US (an age Murthy has previously said is too young, the advisory notes that nearly 40% of kids ages 8 to 12 use the platforms, as well. 

“We must acknowledge the growing body of research about potential harms, increase our collective understanding of the risks associated with social media use, and urgently take action to create safe and healthy digital environments,” the advisory says. 

The report cites several ways in which social media may cause harm to youth mental health, noting that the adolescent years are a particularly vulnerable time for brain development. It details studies that found correlations between social media use and depression and anxiety, as well as poor sleep, online harassment and low self-esteem, particularly for girls. 

One study of 6,595 US adolescents between ages 12 and 15 found that those who spent more than three hours a day on social media had twice the risk of symptoms of depression and anxiety as non-users, the report notes. It also cites studies that found reducing social media use led to improvements in mental health. 

Social media use presents a risk of exposure to dangerous content, including depictions of self-harm, “which can normalize such behaviors,” the advisory says. It also cites 20 studies that found a significant relationship between social media use and body image concerns and eating disorders. 

Teens should be trained before entering the world of social media, APA says 

Murthy told CNN that the three most common things he hears from kids about social media are, “number one, it makes them feel worse about themselves; number two, it makes them feel worse about their friendships; but number three, they can’t get off of it.” 

Excessive use of social media can disrupt important healthy behaviors, including sleep, the advisory warns, noting that platforms are often designed to keep users engaged with push notifications, autoplay and infinite scroll features, and algorithms that use the user’s data to tailor content recommendations. It cites some researchers’ belief that social media exposure, with excessive stimulation to the brain’s reward centers, “can trigger pathways comparable to addiction.” 

The advisory’s summary of potential risks of social media use on youth mental health spans five pages; its description of the potential benefits takes just half a page. It notes that social media can provide positive community and connection with others, which can be especially important for kids who are often marginalized. It cites studies showing mental health benefits from social media use for lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other youth through peer connections, and “identity-affirming content” related to race that was positive for adolescent girls of color. Finally, it notes that social media can be helpful by connecting some kids with mental health care. 

The advisory includes recommendations for families grappling with social media use, including creating family media plans, encouraging kids to develop in-person friendships and modeling good social media behavior. 

Murthy said it’s something he and his wife have discussed for their children, who are now 5 and 6.

Their plan is to delay social media use until at least after middle school; to try to find other families to partner with who are similarly inclined, “because there is strength in numbers”; and to reassess when the kids are in high school to see if better safety standards have been put in place “and are actually enforced,” he said. 

“None of this is easy for parents to do,” he acknowledged. “That’s why we’re pushing so hard through this advisory to make the urgent case for action.” 

Adam Kovacevich, founder and CEO of the tech coalition Chamber of Progress, said online platforms have heard the concerns from parents and researchers and implemented features to protect younger users, such as limiting nighttime notifications. 

“I’m sure that efforts to protect kids are well intentioned, but we shouldn’t trade away teens’ privacy by requiring them to verify their age, or shut off their access to supportive online communities,” Kovacevich said in a statement. 

Murthy says he hopes the report will spur action at multiple levels, such as increased research and funding for it, policy changes and particularly increased transparency and action from technology companies. 

“Independent researchers tell us all the time that they have a hard time getting full access to the information that they need from technology companies about the health impacts on kids,” he said. 

Murthy said social media companies should be held to similar standards for protecting children as other industries are. 

“We take this approach of safety first with other products that kids use, from medications to car seats to toys,” Murthy said. “We need to do it here, too.” 

By Meg Tirrell, CNN