The year 2021 was majorly a turning point for CHTEA work in East Africa especially due to the new trends in Human Trafficking brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has created new risks and challenges to victims and survivors of human trafficking. It has also worsened the vulnerabilities of at-risk groups, especially women and children, to trafficking in human beings. CHTEA focused on strengthening the core fabric of developing a clear cross border framework for the regional civil society. This was mainly achieved through increased partnership and networking, more trainings and workshops, alongside documentation and communication.
Counter human trafficking requires a concerted effort involving both government and non-government stakeholders. On the government front, it was possible to stay engaged with inter-governmental regional efforts such as the East African Community (EAC), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU). At national level, collaboration has been rife with anti-human trafficking secretariats of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. While the actual development and implementation of the various new laws remains at different stages for each country. Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are still following the pack as they strive to generate appropriate legislation to combat human trafficking; a phenomenon bound to continue getting even more complex, courtesy of the advent of information technology and the effects of Covid-19.
Some of the key highlights for the year:
- The Karamoja Girls’ Rescue Phase 2: this was a follow up of a successful rescue operation (by the combined efforts of security agencies from both Kenya and Uganda) which netted 96 Karimojong girls from Uganda. The girls had found their way into Nairobi through an elaborate child trafficking ring of criminals stationed at various locations beginning from Napak district at Karamoja region of Uganda. During the second phase, CHTEA rescued a total of 94 girls (mostly children aged between 8 and 17 years.
The second phase took place between April and June 2021 and it was conducted through a voluntary return process. Those rescued over the 2 months’ period ranged from underage mothers to critically ill girls exhibiting TB conditions and pregnancies, among others. CHTEA provided some temporary shelter spaces at Majengo slums where a total of 125 girls registered. However, the eventual repatriation managed to return a total of 33 victims/survivors and two toddlers. The repatriation and resettlement project was spearheaded by the government of Kenya and the International Organization for Migration who coordinated with counterparts on the Ugandan side. The returnees were given one of the most comprehensive return and reintegration packages.
Victim/Survivor Support Centre (Safe House/Shelter)
Following the successful Karamojong girls’ phase 2 rescue, CHTEA set out a process of obtaining a victim/survivor support center (commonly called Safe house or shelter) which would provide a safe environment for victims’/survivors’ protection and assist in their rehabilitation, return and reintegration. The shelter was inspected by a government multi-agency team consisting the Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Secretariat and the Directorate of Children’s Services, among others. Once fully operational, it is estimated that the survivors’ support center will be able to host up to approximately 40 persons, with room for expansion if more financial resources become available.
- Support for Victims of Human Trafficking
During the year, CHTEA material donations worth USD $2000 from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), an INGO based at Geneva, Switzerland and with regional offices in Nairobi. The donation entailed mattresses, bedsheets, assorted food items, utensils and cutlery, among others.
- Rescues from the Gulf Countries
Throughout the year, CHTEA was actively involved in the return of survivors of human trafficking from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon and Oman; among other Gulf countries. In two of the instances, a total of five survivors from Saudi Arabia were referred to CHTEA by the Salvation Army Church. The two institutions agreed on a mutual undertaking where the former would meet the survivors at the airport and offer protection and rehabilitation services while the Salvation Army Church compensated all the expenses associated with the services offered. CHTEA organized airport pick-ups and onward services to the survivors until they all got reintegrated to their families.
In one particular case, Alphine (not her real name) was taken to a health facility for medical check-up upon arrival as she exhibited deteriorated health condition requiring surgery. Her treatment has continued well into 2022. She has also been on treatment for severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “I am the luckiest person to have survived the brutality of the beastly acts of a slavery-like culture. Your ability to restore my humane feeling is miraculous” Alphine said while leaving Nairobi to meet her children for the first in late December 2021.
- Policy Influencing
There has been remarkable progress on the part of inclusion to policy influencing platforms. In July 2021, CHTEA was officially commissioned by the Minister for Labor as part of a technical team to spearhead ethical practices of recruitment agencies in Kenya. In effect, this platform has provided the best opportunity yet, to address the deteriorating labor migration challenges in the Gulf region and the diaspora at large. The technical team is gradually but firmly addressing the endemic weaknesses which have been exploited by recruitment agencies so far to reform the sector.
CHTEA also landed a crucial appointment by the Minister for Public Service and Social Protection to be a member of the Advisory Committee (which is the highest policy organ of the CTIP). The advisory committee’s main mandate is to develop and propose to the line-Minister some key frameworks towards an effective implementation and operationalization of the CTIP ACT.
Programming, Regional Networking and Collaboration
- The annual conference for the Santa Marta Group (SMG), Africa region was conducted once again through online; owing to the continued effects of Covid-19 in 2021. CHTEA is represented at the SMG-Africa Executive Committee level and the CEO serves as the vice Chair of the Catholic led platform which brings together Catholic Bishops and Police Chiefs to discuss about (various) ways of countering human trafficking practices around the globe. The SMG-A conference received presentations from Kenya, Tanzania Uganda, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Central Africa Republic and Egypt; among others. This was followed by a communique which was released to the media at the UK .
- During the year, a number of new connections/relationships were established as we continued to strengthen the older ones. CHTEA applied and joined the National Referral Mechanism (NCM) - a National Multi-Agency Coordination platform, hosted and Chaired by the Director General, Department of Immigration. Through this framework, CHTEA was invited to provide an input on the East African Community perspective on counter human trafficking efforts to a Kenya-Government Multi-Agency team.
- Again, during the year, CHTEA was approached and continues to work with a regional security organization called the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC) based at Khartoum, Sudan. CHTEA is working on providing security intelligence information related to organized crime networks (human trafficking and smuggling) in the region.
- At the beginning of 2021, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) ran a civil society/media training at Kampala, Uganda. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the lead mobiliser and they in-turn requested CHTEA to provide leadership in the identification of credible institutions to benefit from the opportunity. It was successfully carried out with tremendous success, and the training created a new network of practitioners.
- Free the Slaves, a US based INGO convened an online regional conference for Eastern Africa to explore the human trafficking dynamics and provide recommendations on the intervening opportunities for recourse. CHTEA presented a paper on the lessons learnt with respect to victims/survivors of human trafficking.
- Equality Now, a French based INGO has been running on line and face to face programmes. CHTEA participated and offered resource persons for various sessions during 2021
- Within the regional perspective of the CSO network, CHTEA was able to offer a webinar on cross border counter human trafficking (in collaboration with Candle of Hope Foundation, a Muslim NGO working in Kenya and Somaliland)
- Kantar Public, a global data conglomerate based in the US and with an Africa regional office based in Nairobi, Kenya (works with clients around the world, providing rigorous evidence, insights and advisory services to inspire the next generation of public policy and programs) partnered with CHTEA during a key research project which investigated the experience of Kenyan labor migrants (returnees) from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (G.C.C.). The project reviewed feedback from Kenyan returnees since 2018. The report will hopefully be released in 2022. The report will be used to inform innovative approaches to help governments and public sector organizations unlock some of the most difficult public policy challenges associated with the human trafficking practices, mobility and migration to build a better, fairer society.
- On the education front, CHTEA financed the education of over 150 learners from primary, secondary, tertiary colleges and university. Education is one of the most powerful pillars for eradicating poverty which in turn contributes greatly towards human trafficking. By empowering children and youth through an educational program, CHTEA believes that new opportunities for growth and development are availed to this most vulnerable population. Education is not all about white collar jobs but rather, it opens up areas of innovation, jobs’ creation and a fair competition in a liberalized market economy.
Performance in numbers
Table 1: Total number of people reached during workshops in Mukuru Kwa Reuben
Table 2: Total number of people reached during workshops in Mukuru Kwa Njenga
|Months||No. of Workshops||Adults Reached||Youth/School Children||Total No. of Adults, Youth and Children Reached|
|January 2021||105||Male 417
|February 2021||84||Male 294
|March 2021||95||Male 249
|April 2021||96||Male 135
|May 2021||97||Male 196
|June 2021||97||Male 270
|July 2021||93||Male 255
|August 2021||107||Male 252
|November 2021||90||Male 356
|December 2021||95||Male 455
Combined summary: No. of people reached
Sub- Total 13,483
Youth Male 2,252
Youth Female 3,144
Grand Total 18,879
Table 3: Victims’/Survivors’ Report 2021
|Adult||Children||Total number of adults and children|
|Number of victims identified||129
|Number of victims rescued||71
|Number of victims referred to shelter||43
|Number of victims offered medical support||17
|Number of victims rehabilitated||29
|Number of victims repatriated and reintegrated||29
|Number of pre-victims identified||4
|Number of cases referred to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations||0||3
|Cross border victims identified||129
UNODC training: CHTEA participated
Online beaming of a conference from Uganda: CHTEA presented a paper on the Ugandan Karimojong child trafficking situation. The conference was organised by the Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO)
Santa Marta Group (SMG)-Africa Conference: CHTEA played a key role in organizing the conference which was beamed from London. Above is the CHTEA team during the online conference (11th and 12th November 2021)
The Annual online conference of the Religious Against Human Trafficking (RAHT). Above team was at the beaming center at the Tangaza University College, Nairobi, Kenya. CHTEA, as a member of RAHT was well represented
Group photo during the training on Child labor, forced labor and human trafficking in Nairobi on CAPSA project by the International Labour Organisation (ILO)