All in a matter of Hours

Meeting Victims of Human Trafficking

It started as a day like any other but as is the case in Counter Human Trafficking activities, it certainly was one we could not have imagined what was to transpire. On our schedule we had a trip to the International airport to meet two victims from Saudi Arabia. We arrived to find that the plane had just landed but after a period of waiting and most passengers had come out we decided it was time to try to call one of them. We had ‘Jackie’s’ name on a board, however, the ‘board’ on this occasion was the 42 page, A4 size “Training Manual” I designed in 2008, we refer to it as “Madam Lolo” (on a sheet of paper, taped on to the Manual, we just wrote the name of one of the two women we expected). In simple pictorial format the Training Manual details the trafficking of a 12 year old girl to a brothel-cum-bar who is exposed to a variety of severe hardships and sexual exploitation which finally ends in her death due to AIDS, having undergone several abortions by the doctor whom the ‘Madam’ calls in to carry out the procedure/s.

Planning our next move

Having waited so long we sat down in an airport café to sit and have some drinks and call ‘Jackie’ That in itself was a struggle as she was not picking her phone but we had an alternative number and she answered it telling us that she lacked an ‘exit visa’ and was turned back at Riyadh International airport on the previous evening. As all this was happening I spotted a long line of very young girls (at least eleven of them) come out of a Nissan van and with a small suitcase each they made a line heading in the direction of where we had just left, to ‘Saudi Airlines’ They were followed at the rear by a Madam in full Muslim dress. With Mutuku opposite me, I said: “look quickly, that trail of young girls are being trafficked” I could see his face ‘fall’ and my mind went back to another time when I was on my way home through Abu Dhabi direct to Dublin. I spotted a group of 14 very young pretty Ethiopian and Eritrean girls in the transit lounge, I knew they were being ‘trafficked’. An inner voice reminded me “Mary, you are starting your holidays now – just leave them” But another stronger, inner voice said ‘No, engage with them’ which I did and in very faltering English found that they were bound for Abu Dhabi for work, one managed to say “Work, Yes, we go work” I knew what fate awaited them and I felt very sad and helpless.

Take Courage Always

Today, with that trail of young girls on their way to an unknown fate, I stripped off the A4 page bearing the name of ‘Jackie’ and walked swiftly in their direction – carrying the “Madam Lolo” story. They had just reached the health scan checking for their Covid-19 certs. I asked one of them which county are you going to? Her reply was simple – just one word ‘Saudi’ which spoke volumes to me. I just placed the manual in her hands and said; ‘read this’ Some of the worst, most horrific and violent episodes come out of victims to Saudi - such has been my experience over 15 years. We have some photos of gross mutilations, burns e.g. placing a hot iron on a girl’s arm just because she burned the ‘tail’ of a man’s shirt and this was done by a woman – it amounts to gross inhumanity and a level of cruelty which defies imagination. As I walked a few meters away from them I just turned around and the Muslim lady was glaring hard back at me, I turned around and came back to our table at the café. Since beginning this work 15 years ago, I know that nothing is ever lost, no effort is too big in my passion to work Against HT whenever or wherever I meet it. In the Preface to a Strategic Plan of 2008, I wrote: “my mission is to sow ‘seeds’ very small seeds let God’s Spirit wing them where God’s Spirit wills” I have placed all my efforts and services in the hands of the Almighty who can and does Shepherd His people despite the awful greed of traffickers who reap so much wealth that it can finance the entire operations of Al Shabbab or Boko Haram.

Despite the fact that we spent over 3 hours going to the airport all was not lost, on the way back as we chatted we also conceived of an idea to do some ‘Research’ around this trafficking of young girls to Saudi and other Gulf States. In tandem with that idea and also very much related to it, that evening, Mutuku received a call at his home. It came from a deputy Officer Commanding Station (OCS) whom he parted company with just two weeks earlier. In the first week of February, 2021 Mutuku and George Matheka completed phase 2 of the ‘Training of Trainers’ (ToT) for 30 members of Kangemi Parish, Nairobi. The group included the deputy OCS and a female Officer and they also received their certificates as people qualified to present the whole gamut of Human Trafficking to any group of people who wished to engage with them.

Serious Criminal Activity

‘Peter’ this deputy OCS had an immediate urgent problem. It was 11pm and one hour after curfew, he had just arrested the driver of a Nissan van carrying one adult Muslim lady and 14 young girls aged 13 – 16 years (as verified by their passports). Each one held a small weekend case – ‘they look fearful and very terrified’ he explained to Mutuku. In addition, this driver carried 14 passports in an envelope inside his jacket pocket, there was no doubt ‘Peter’ was dealing with an immediate and very serious crime – there was no time to lose. Mutuku gave him the name and phone number of the “Transnational Organized Crime Unit” (TOCU) Officer who could help him immediately. It worked as a crime novel would describe it and when ‘Peter’ came to see us at our office some days later, he was beaming with pride, “this incident has given me more satisfaction than all the other crime cases I have dealt with in my 15 years as a Police officer” We Congratulated him again and he continued “Now I know that this is the kind of crime area I can specialize in” Last week he informed us that he has received promotion to move up the ranks as “Chief OCS” in charge of a large Police Division.

Story compiled by Sr Mary O’Malley, MMM @2021

Empowering adolescent children of survivors: A Comprehensive approach to Mental Health support.

In response to the pressing need for mental health assistance among “indirect adolescent survivors” of human trafficking, CHTEA embarked on a groundbreaking initiative tailored specifically for individuals aged 11 to 23. These young people, children of trafficking victims, faced unique challenges from their returning parents; most of whom were severely traumatized. The parents have been struggling to reconcile their past experiences with their present reality which has in effect had negative impact on children.

Structured over the April holidays, CHTEA’s counseling sessions provided a safe haven where children could freely express themselves, confront their concerns, and receive professional guidance. Facilitated by highly specialized counselor’s adept in adolescent psychology, the sessions combined individual counseling, group therapy, and psychoeducation, ensuring a holistic approach to addressing a myriad of issues including anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships. The methodology encompassed a diverse range of participants, reflecting varied socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural contexts, and family dynamics. Despite their differences, all children shared their common threads of emotional distress and psychological trauma.

Findings from the sessions underscored their profound impact on their family relationships and the on-going challenges to their future, if un-addressed. Early adolescents found solace in addressing identity formation, peer pressure, and academic stress, while teen participants navigated more complex issues such as strained relationships with their mothers, romantic relationships and future aspirations. Across board, improvements were evident in self-confidence, communication skills, and a sense of empowerment towards the end of each therapy session.

In conclusion, CHTEA’s therapy sessions have emerged as a beacon of hope for adolescent indirect survivors of human trafficking, fostering resilience and promoting mental well-being. Moving forward, it is imperative to sustain this momentum, offering tailored support to meet the evolving needs of this vulnerable group who have for the longest been forgotten. By prioritizing mental health awareness and resilience, we can empower these young individuals.

Organ harvesting syndicates prey on Kenya’s desperate youth

Impoverished young men are selling their kidneys in return for cash to start their own businesses.

The price of a kidney in Kenya? Just under US$1, 000 plus a motorbike. That is how 30-year-old Joseph Japiny, from Oyugis town in Homa Bay County in western Kenya, got his boda boda – a motorbike taxi he uses to earn a living. Japiny told the ENACT project that he was introduced to Jadhot, a broker recruiting young men into the kidney-harvesting underworld that operates between Eldoret, Busia and Nairobi. Jadhot said that if he donated one kidney, he would be paid US$984 as a down payment and another US$984 in the form of a Boxer motorcycle. This he could use as a boda boda taxi – a common occupation among young East African men.

Japiny agreed to the deal and was taken to a private clinic in Eldoret for tests. Two weeks later, he was back in Eldoret where he received food and accommodation, and underwent regular blood, urine and faecal tests over the next three weeks. Throughout this time, Japiny had a minder – a person hired to look after those whose kidneys were going to be harvested. The illicit enterprise points to significant legal shortcomings in protecting vulnerable young people.

In the fourth week, Japiny was moved to a nearby clinic where his kidney was removed. He stayed there under observation for three days and then spent another three weeks in his hotel. During this time, he had regular check-ups by a doctor from India who did not speak Swahili. He was then given his motorbike and sent on his way.

The media have reported on allegations of illicit kidney harvesting in Kenya since 2019, and Japiny’s story shows that the trade is continuing. The illicit enterprise involves a network of actors who exploit poverty and unemployment among young men in their mid-20s and early 30s to meet the black-market demand outside the country. It also points to significant legal shortcomings in protecting vulnerable young people.

A broker who spoke to ENACT on condition of anonymity said he had recruited over 100 young men in Oyugis in the past year. Most were from low-income families, and many had not been educated beyond high school. They wanted capital to start their own businesses. While many see this as an opportunity to support themselves and their families, they are not necessarily told of the dangers, which include high blood pressure and reduced kidney function that could lead to kidney failure. Some have complained of constant pain at the surgery site, while others say they struggle with long-term back pain. Clinic owners serve the value chain by supplying harvested kidneys through the black market in India. The youths are lured by the prospect of cash, with some being paid as much as US$5 077 (KES750 000) for a kidney. However, with the increase in young people seeking to donate their kidneys, the price has dropped to around US$2 000 (KES300 000). This is despite one kidney on the international illicit market costing on average US$85 000.

In western Kenya, youths based in rural areas serve as brokers and recruit vulnerable, healthy young men. These local brokers work closely with agents in cities such as Eldoret, who connect victims of organ trafficking to the clinics where the operations occur.
Clinics and private hospitals in Eldoret are allegedly key nodes in the illicit harvesting and supply of kidneys to recipients in India. At the clinics and rented properties where the surgeries are performed, Indian doctors are brought in to carry out the procedures and post-operative care. Minders play a critical role in escorting victims and organising their travel and accommodation. The clinic owners serve the value chain by supplying the harvested kidneys through the black market in India.

This network of local and international criminal actors goes largely unchecked. The Kenyan Health Act of 2017 provides for the donation of kidneys to relatives or for scientific purposes, within strict guidelines. But the act doesn’t explicitly outlaw the illicit trade in which people agree to sell their organs – a loophole that aids illegal harvesting, storage and transportation of kidneys. There is no existing legal provision for acts involving people willing to sell their kidneys. The Health Act imposes a fine of US$65 700 or a prison term of up to 10 years, or both, for organ harvesting or trafficking. However, it is impossible to police organ harvesting when there is no existing legal provision for acts involving people willing to sell their kidneys for monetary gain.

While the Kenyatta National Hospital – Kenya’s largest referral hospital – issued a statement in 2022 discouraging youth from selling their kidneys, much more needs to be done by authorities to prevent this trade. For a start, the legal gaps need to be closed and clear regulations that accommodate this context must be put in place. Active and ongoing oversight of medical facilities and personnel is also required to ensure adherence to ethical practices governing organ removal, transfer and transplant in Kenya.
This article was first published by ENACT, a project of ISS and Interpol

Yearning for attention and affirmation: “Gen Z” Generation

There is pin-drop silence in a typical Kenyan home. The four-year-old last born is glued on the TV watching her favorite cartoon, the pre-teen is on the house phone watching a popular Us-based make-up show while the older teenage brother is hooked on some online games.

A mother, back from work at 8 pm, frantically knocks the door but nobody answers. After several frustrating knocks, the house help emerges from the bathroom in a hurry and opens the main door ‘’How come none of you opened the door yet I have knocked for hours," the mother complains. But the children stare blankly at her like she is from another planet. We did not hear you knocking the trio echoes back innocently. That is the typical scenario in marry Kenyan homes during the holiday season as children are glued to gadgets, for hours on end, oblivious of what is happening around them and it is now a cause for concern. When schools close and young ones are at home, instead of playing and socializing with their peers as is expected, they are glued to gadgets, from tablets, to laptops and smart phones Unlike in the past when children would play themselves dirty on vast playgrounds during the holiday season, now things are different and it is worrying experts.

Ms. Juliet Gikunda, a child psychologist, says there is a serious problem that needs urgent attention: A study published last month by the Pew Research Centre, indicates that about 38 percent of teenagers in the US acknowledge that they spend "too much" time on their smartphones and social media plat forms. The same scenario applies in Kenya.

Safety concerns

" It is dangerous when we give children too much freedom to use our gadgets and go online but we do not monitor their activities hence exposing them to safety concerns," says Gakunda who also manages Karan Children's Vocational Centre in Kikuyu. Ms Gakunda admits that though times have changed and parents cannot stop their children from using technology, they can still ensure that they use screen time meaningfully.

There is a need to define the boundaries as technology use has its advantages and disadvantages, the expert cautions.
"We have noted that the children are spending too much time on the screens, they are becoming socially awkward, withdrawn and want to have their 'me time’ with their gadgets, and when you wade their privacy they become aggressive.

When you check parents’ WhatsApp, TikTok or Facebook status, you find teens anal youth speaking their minds and expressing their emotions. It is like they are crying for attention. If there was a safe space at home where they could pour out their feelings and be listened to, they would not be all over social media, says Gikunda Teenagers and adolescents are posting their pictures on social media sites to seek affirmation and validation from strangers "This is dangerous as we have had seen instances where teenagers have committed suicide because they were cyberbullied through negative comments on their social media posts," Ms Gikunda observes.

Authored by Millicent Mwololo, Nation Media Group
With such a weak relationship between children and their parents, the former seem to find solace in alternative “online community support system” which is largely unregulated. From a very early age, most youngsters discover social media as the exciting alternatives to their absent parents. Indeed, it has become a routine practice for parents to buy gadgets for their children in guise of facilitating online studies/research projects.
Once online, the young minds delve into the depths of discovery hence, they are bound to engage with strangers some of whom are emerging or convicted paedophiles or child traffickers who offer the most attractive conversations and promises which become the new pathway to self-destruction for the young minds minds. Other youngsters end up joining dangerous groups which epitomize success through grooming, drugs, crime, pornography and gaming (betting). It is the easiest manner through which child traffickers subdue the young minds

With such a weak relationship between children and their parents, the former seem to find solace in alternative “online community support system” which is largely unregulated. From a very early age, most youngsters discover social media as the exciting alternatives to their absent parents. Indeed, it has become a routine practice for parents to buy gadgets for their children in guise of facilitating online studies/research projects.
Once online, the young minds delve into the depths of discovery hence, they are bound to engage with strangers some of whom are emerging or convicted paedophiles who offer the most attractive conversations and promises which become the new pathway to self-destruction for the young minds. Other youngsters end up joining dangerous groups which epitomize success through grooming, drugs, crime, pornography and gaming (betting). It is the easiest manner through which child traffickers subdue the young minds

With such a weak relationship between children and their parents, the former seem to find solace in alternative “online community support system” which is largely unregulated. From a very early age, most youngsters discover social media as the exciting alternatives to their absent parents. Indeed, it has become a routine practice for parents to buy gadgets for their children in guise of facilitating online studies/research projects.
Once online, the young minds delve into the depths of discovery hence, they are bound to engage with strangers some of whom are emerging or convicted paedophiles who offer the most attractive conversations and promises which become the new pathway to self-destruction for the young minds. Other youngsters end up joining dangerous groups which epitomize success through grooming, drugs, crime, pornography and gaming (betting). It is the easiest manner through which child traffickers subdue the young minds

Cyberbullying causes mental instability in children, which manifests in symptoms like anxiety attacks and withdrawal. "In a bid to cope, some fall in to drugs, become anti-social, get depressed and experience lack of sleep or too much of it. Parents may notice a different behavior pattern in the children and for some, if medical attention is not sought, they might end up com- mitting suicide." Owing to the pressures of life, many parents are finding themselves too busy to parent their children.

The Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

The Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: CHTEA engages with the high level Commission.

Rt. Hon. Lady Theresa May MP, Chair, Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking poses for a photo with Mr Mutuku Nguli, CEO, CHTEA on 4th June 2024, during a recent visit to Nairobi Kenya.

The Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking is an international initiative led by The Rt Hon Theresa May MP to exert high-level political leverage to restore political momentum towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking.

In 2022, the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre was commissioned by The Office of Theresa May to conduct a scoping study examining the case for establishing a Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.
The Scoping Study was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The team carrying out the Scoping Study met with more than 50 actors working to address modern slavery across the world, including global and regional intergovernmental bodies, international human rights groups, survivor organizations, civil society organizations and businesses.

It also conducted a survey of comparable Global Commissions, a literature review of evidence identifying potential priority areas of intervention, and a wide consultation on how best to embed people with lived experience in the work and governance of a potential Global Commission.

The Kenya visit

The Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking visited Nairobi (and Africa for that matter) for the first time to gather data regarding the future of her work as well as gather validated information regarding a number of strands which were articulated through conversations steered by a set of 25 questions.
The meeting held on 4th June 2024 at the Radisson Blu hotel was between the Global Commission and a select group of CSO’s. The Commission’s Chair and her deputy gladly graced the conversations. Later that evening, the British High Commissioner to Kenya hosted a reception galla at his official residence in Nairobi in honor of the Global Commission.

Short Survivor Stories

  1. Hesbon

Hesbon is a male survivor of trafficking whose story is quite moving. He lost his marriage upon travelling to the middle east (Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among other countries). His wife and kid left the matrimonial home during his job detour as he was not being compensated for the work he did hence, he was not sending any upkeep money back home. She eventually remarried.

His story is available on You-tube.

Request

Humphrey was doing a soap making and supply business with his late father at Kibera and he still speaks of it with a lot of nostalgia. He is keen to restart the business which he claims to understand deeply and sounds confident that he would do well re-establishing both the manufacturing and distribution as trained by his late father (RIP).

Upon our assessment, Humphrey exhibits good signs of integrity and abilities to re-start his life. This however may be monitored to ensure that he indeed does the correct things……especially at the start of the business.

  1. Abdallah

Abdallah is a 20-year male who was sexually abused (sodomised) while being trafficked to Nairobi in the guise of a job. He traveled to Nairobi on 2nd December 2023. An alleged friend lied to him that he had a job for him in Nairobi but when he arrived, the friend switched off his phone.

As he was trying to figure out what to do, he met a man who promised to get him a job of his choice and also offered to accommodate him for the night. The man later took him to a single room flat at Kayole where he sodomised him for 3-4 days under the influence of drugs. When Ismail regained his consciousness, he felt a lot pain while passing stool which was blood stained too. His aggressor later brought him to the CBD where he left him at the KENCOM stage. Abdallah walked aimlessly to Muthurwa market where he found an abandoned vehicle and he started using it as his new home while during the day he used to visit the Wakulima market to scavenge for any spoilt edible fruit.

One day, Abdallah walked towards South B where he was noticed by a CHTEA volunteer worker who took him to the mater hospital CCC clinic. He could not be attended there as they required a police P3 form. He was later facilitated and accompanied by a CHTEA staff to the Nairobi Women’s hospital where he received good medical attention. All this while, he stayed at a CHTEA rented accommodation at South B.

Abdallah got better and was released to travel back home on 8th January 2024. Upon enquiry, Ismail indicated that he would be happy to run a vegetable/grocery shop back in Kakamega.

  1. Grace

Grace is a female survivor who returned from Saudi Arabia in September 2022. She’s been going through a lot of traumatic after effects of the abuses mated on her while in Saudi. She recently texted me the following:

“I am a survivor of human-trafficking, I came back from Saudi Arabia and I haven’t been well mentally. I recently heard about CHTEA, I just really need help and support. Most importantly, therapy. I’m not okay and I really need help. Thank you.”

Upon her return, Grace was evicted from the family home (alongside her 3 children) by her biological mother as she had not been sending back any upkeep money for her children. She currently lives with a friend on borrowed time.

Upon discussion with a good therapist, Grace will need 10 -15 sessions spread over a period of time in order to deal with the incubated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) effects. The therapist was also of the opinion that her 3 children could also receive about 5 sessions to help them heal from the traumatic effects of the situation happening around them.

 

The Influence of Technological Advancement on Human Trafficking: Challenges and Opportunities

Is it true that human traffickers are tech-savvies, intelligent, quite ahead and sophisticated in ways anti-traffickers cannot comprehend let alone match up or outwit them? Well, this is debatable but one thing is for sure, even though it is not easy to quantify the magnitude of online human trafficking, it is undeniable that online exploitation of victims of trafficking is prevalent and is a brutal reality. Technology has been abused by traffickers and those working against human trafficking have not embraced technology as much to counter the vice.

Technological advancement is one of the most progressive innovations in the human history that has remarkably transformed how the world operates. Changes at the apex of this advancement include; value systems, cultural setups, means of communication, the travel industry, the healthcare sector, the corporate world  and the education system.

Even though the intention behind technological advancement was to make life convenient for the ordinary human being, it has come along with unprecedented negative consequences over time. Cyber crimes including child pornography, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cyber grooming, online job fraud, online sextortion, phishing and vishing are currently on the rise exacerbated further by massive use of the internet during the COVID-19. This said, technological advancement is a double edged sword; presenting both challenges and opportunities in the whole phenomenon of human trafficking..

Traffickers harness technology through out the human trafficking stages; from recruitment, grooming, movement, control advertising and exploitation for a couple of reasons. They use technology to hide their identities and increase anonymity online; the perpetrator communicate through encrypted app/dark web to coordinate their activities. Traffickers use cryptocurrency to engage in money laundry, conduct financial transactions and move criminal proceeds anonymously.

Technology is used by traffickers to facilitate recruitment and exploitation of victims; through the internet traffickers are able to target potential victims, access personal data, recruit through social media and arrange travel logistics. According to a 2018 UNODC global report on trafficking in persons, perpetrators sequence their actions by identifying potential victims on social media establishing a relationship of trust and subsequently entrapping them in exploitative situations.

Traffickers use technology to access new venues and expanding the market. The internet helps traffickers to advertise fraudulent opportunities to potential victims and access a large market. Traffickers use the internet to advertise the services offered by their victims to potential customers/end users. Europol notes that the online advertisement of sexual services is an increasing phenomenon relating to human trafficking for sexual exploitation with children being advertised as adults.

The internet has made it possible for traffickers to expand the means victims by which they control and exploit their victims. Certain technologies help traffickers to control and coerce their victims. The technology includes using GPS software in phones to track the movements of victims or in domestic servitude and other forms of labour exploitation monitor and control victims through video surveillance. In sexual exploitation threats to share nude images are used to control victims.

Certain factors enable the misuse of technology by traffickers. First is insufficient legal frameworks which do not avail the necessary tools to aid successful  investigations and prosecution to online crimes and human trafficking. Second is the transnational nature of the internet facilitated human trafficking has introduced new challenges with respect to jurisdiction. Third is weak cooperation among national and international institutions and the private sector which impedes opportunities to promptly utilize innovative approaches embraced by traffickers and hampers full utilization of resources and expertise available in different sectors. Fourth is lack of capacity, awareness and expertise of law enforcement, prosecutors and the judiciary due to among other factors; the complex and dynamic nature of ICT facilitated trafficking. And lastly, limited technological tools as well as capacity to anti-trafficking practitioners.

Positive Use of Technology to Counter Human Trafficking  

Governments, NGOs, international organizations, the private sector and the corporate world have a wide range of technological tools within their reach to buffer their anti-trafficking endeavor. A number of interventions have already been launched and are in use to counter human trafficking. For example Tech Against Trafficking a coalition of technology companies working to combat human trafficking has survey more than 260 technology tools to aid anti trafficking work. More than half of this tools focus on labour exploitation while 18% focus on sexual exploitation. This tools consist mainly of mobile apps, social media handles and databases.

In a recent issue by freedom collaborative a digital game-May and Bay- has been innovated by the University of Kent’s Centre for Child Protection (CCP) with A21, ECPAT International and Playerthree. The game is set to help children and young people across Thailand and Cambodia learn to spot signs of online grooming and recognize the tactics that abusers and traffickers employ. The game is intended to alert children to the dangers of online interactions in Thailand and Cambodia. The game aims to empower young people and provide training for child protection practitioners.

The internet can be a vital tool for detecting, locating and addressing human trafficking. For instance, activities like data mining, mapping and advanced analytics can be valuable weapons against human trafficking. Research shows that online traffickers leave a trail that if followed up by those working against trafficking could avail vital information to build up their cases against the traffickers. 

Since it has a wider audience, avenues for instance, social media could be leveraged to create awareness on the horrifying crime of human trafficking. Highlighting the redflags to look out for, the modus operandi i.e what is done, how it is done and why it is done. Through information, traffickers activities will be crippled. The internet could also be used to generate and offer services for he victims of human trafficking.

Conclusion

As the world commemorates the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, it is incumbent upon governments, civil societies, businesses, academia and the international community to adapt to the rapid dynamic realm of technological advancement by leveraging it in order to outwit human traffickers. Technology will assist the law enforcement to provide substantial evidence to aid in the prosecution of victims. Collaboration and concerted effort are crucial now more that ever before to counter human trafficking.

 

 

 

    

Lest We Forget: Kenya’s Magical NUMBER (0800222223)

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 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;

  • 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.

 

  • The establishment of the Toll-Free Hotline 0800222223

 

  • The development of the distress reporting tool which is accessible through the NEA Information and Management System ( neaims.go.ke.). 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).

 

  • 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).

Fostering Collaboration to Combat Human Trafficking: Insights from the Kenyan Workshop

The recent Kenyan Anti-Trafficking CSO-CTIP Coordination Workshop held from January 31 to February 1, 2024, at the ParkInn Hotel in Nairobi, showcased a significant step forward in the fight against human trafficking in Kenya. Organized by the Better Migration Management III Programme (BMM III), the workshop brought together over 30 participants, including key government partners, civil society organizations (CSOs), and BMM implementing partners.

The two-day workshop was designed to foster collaboration and coordination among stakeholders to counter trafficking of human beings effectively. With a focus on building partnerships for 2024 and sharing updates from the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Secretariat (CTIP). The event provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and action.


Above: CSO-CTIP Coordination Workshop: Learning topics as mapped out
.

Participants engaged in discussions ranging from joint activity planning to coordination on service provision and partnerships. Through working groups and presentations, attendees identified areas for joint learning, developed activity planning tools, and gained a deeper understanding of CTIP-CSO activities for the year ahead.

The workshop's hybrid format allowed for both in-person and online participation, ensuring active engagement of stakeholders across Kenya. Overall, the outcomes of the workshop are expected to guide CSO activities throughout the year, strengthening the collective effort to combat human trafficking and protect vulnerable populations in Kenya.

The success of the workshop underscores the importance of collaboration and coordination in addressing complex issues like human trafficking and highlights the power of collective action in driving positive change.

Cross-Regional Dialogue for Champion Countries of the Global Compact for Safe

Dear Participants, dear colleagues

We hope this message finds you well. On behalf of the Regional UN Network on Migration in West and Central Africa and the Government of Ghana in the framework of the GCM Champion countries initiative, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your active participation in the Informal Cross-Regional Dialogue for Champion Countries of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) held in Accra, Ghana from 28 to 30 November.

This dialogue served as a follow-up to the regional dialogues that took place in Rabat and Nairobi, and it provided a valuable opportunity to build upon the recommendations and insights gathered from both events. Your presence and valuable contributions throughout the three-day dialogue were instrumental in shaping the discussions and outcomes of the event.

We greatly appreciate your commitment and dedication to the topic of safe migration and mobility, and your willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue with fellow participants. Your expertise and perspectives enriched the discussions and helped us to identify key challenges and opportunities in the context of safe, orderly, and regular migration. As promised, we are sharing the recommendations from the informal dialogue in five languages, including English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. They are found here: Recommendations. These recommendations reflect the collective wisdom and insights shared during the event and will serve as a valuable resource moving forward. Furthermore, we kindly request that you review the attached recommendations and share any edits or comments you may have by Thursday the 28th of December. Your valuable input will help us refine and improve the recommendations before finalizing them for wider dissemination and implementation.

Additionally, we have also included a link to a SharePoint platform: Home where you will find all the important relevant documents from the informal dialogue, including the press release, photos and video from the event. This platform will enable you to access and share these materials with ease.

Once again, we extend our heartfelt appreciation for your participation and contribution to the Informal Cross-Regional Dialogue for Champion Countries of the GCM. We are confident that the outcomes of this event will contribute significantly to the global efforts in promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.

Should you have any further questions or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to staying connected and continuing our collective efforts to advance the goals of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.

Cordially,

The Co-Organizers