Reflections on the TIP 2015 on the Word Day against Trafficking

“Kenya is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.”

That is how the annual Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report’s section on Kenya starts. The 2015 report was released a few days ago just in time for the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on the 30th July 2015. The big news this year is that after three years on the Tier 2 Watch List, Kenya has been upgraded to Tier 2. That means that Kenya now, according to the US State Department, do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Click on the image to read the 2015 TIP report for Kenya.

Click on the image to read the 2015 TIP report for Kenya.

Some of the achievements that are mentioned, are that the Kenyan government has increased the identification of victims of trafficking as well as prosecution of traffickers. According to the report, 65 trafficking cases were prosecuted and 33 traffickers convicted. However, a quick note to that report is that we have not heard of any of these prosecutions in the press or through any of our partners, it would be good if there is a bit more transparency. It would also be good to know if the prosecutions are based on the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act from 2010 or other related laws. We have not heard of any successful convictions based on the Act, but we would love to learn more about it. The government identified 658 child trafficking cases and at least 12 adult trafficking cases exploited overseas. Regarding the 12 cases is a bit lacking as we identified 31 victims of trafficking together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December 2014 who had all been exploited in Libya. This underlines the poor information sharing and general confusion when it comes to human trafficking in Kenya.

The report also highlights the establishment of the Counter Trafficking Advisory Committee which is chaired by our partner The Cradle – the Children Foundation and the launch of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. These activities show a heightened effort of the Kenyan government to take action against human trafficking. However, there are many areas that are still lacking, especially when it comes to providing comprehensive assistance to victims of trafficking, and especially adult victims of trafficking. There are few if any safe houses dedicated to victims of trafficking, the area of human trafficking is still embarrassingly underfunded and although the government assist with repatriation, the assistance usually end when the victim reach the airport in Kenya as seen in the quote below:

“The Kenyan embassy in Muscat assisted with the repatriation of a Kenyan woman from Oman; however, the government failed to provide the victim any assistance upon her return to Kenya. Generally, the government lacked a unified system for providing access to medical aid, shelter, counseling, or financial assistance to adult nationals who were repatriated.”

We saw the same pattern when we worked together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to rescue the women in Libya. Although the MoFA did an excellent job in bringing back the women from Libya, there was a lack of response from the government when they arrived in Kenya, so the shelter, reintegration, psychosocial support etc. was instead provided by ourselves together with IOM.

On this day, the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we must all remember the victims of human trafficking. For instance, there was recently a report out of Kisumu of how underage girls are trafficked into the sex trade in Kisumu and sold for 50 shillings or boys that are trafficked into violent extremism. Victims are robbed of their innocence and exploited in cruel and inhumane ways. Join the global campaign to commemorate this day with the #Igivehope campaign on social media. You can also come to our Arts to End Slavery event tonight, click on the image below for details.

Click on the image for information on how to RSVP.

Was Laura tricked into sex slavery in the United States?

The story of Kenyan lady, Laura that is much discussed in the media and social media these days. According to the story, Laura is a Kenyan lady who was lured to the United States under the false premise that she was getting into a relationship with an American man and ended up as a sex slave in a pornographic movie. Read more about the story here.

© Nicholas Thuita /Arts to End Slavery

© Nicholas Thuita /Arts to End Slavery

HAART would like to comment on the story as it has been much discussed and also confusing. It is important to note that traffickers do use marriage or love interest as a trick to lure their victims and with the advance of technology, social media and the internet in general is becoming a tool that is common. However, since there is a lot of information that still cannot be clarified from this story, it is important to note the following.

  1. We are not sure if the video portrays “Laura” or a pornographic actress. Regardless, if the lady in the video is there without coercion to be in a pornographic film, she has not been trafficked. Pornography is not illegal in the US and if there is no coercion, then there is no grounds for calling it human trafficking regardless of moral outrage.
  2. If she agreed to be in the pornographic film but was decieved about the terms and conditions and as a result changed her mind and is being held against her will, she has been trafficked.
  3. If she did not consent to being in the pornographic video and is being held against her will, she has been trafficked.
  4. Her friend is not a trafficker if all she did was tell her about the dating website.

According to the news story, Interpol is investigating the case and we hope that some of these issues can be clarified and if it is a case of trafficking that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

By Sophie Otiende

World Day against Trafficking in Persons, July 30th

Arts to End Slavery is ending soon, we only have one event left, but what an event! See below for information about how to attend!

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On Thursday 30th July 2015, PAWA254 invites you to a #PAWASalon on ‘Art to End Slavery: Countering Violent Extremism and the Provision of Assistance to Victims of Trafficking’. For this particular PAWASalon, PAWA254 will be partnering with HAART and UNODC who will hold a panel discussion on the topic above.

The #PAWASalon will coincide with World Day Against Trafficking of Persons and will also feature a Film screening and an Art Exhibition.

#IGiveHope

PAWASalon is a monthly forum that gives a professional/pioneer in a creative industry a platform to share with other professionals, students and enthusiasts hands-on skills, knowledge and insight into their creative industry of work.

Kindly RSVP by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pawasalon-xxxix-on-arts-to-end-slavery-countering-violent-extremism-and-provision-of-assistance-to-tickets-17806762506
Venue: Mageuzi and Rooftop Space, PAWA254, State House Crescent

Date: Thursday 30th July 2015

Time: Exhibition All day | Discussion 5pm to 8pm | Sundowner 8pm to 9pm