2015 gave immense opportunities to HAART to grow in its work of fighting human trafficking in the region. The organization grew in terms of capacity and experience, and the understanding of human trafficking and its dynamics within the region broadened thanks to the different cases handled.
Some of the most outstanding cases include assisting victims of trafficking who had been rescued from Libya the previous year. This was a group of about 30 women who were stuck in Libya after the war broke out. HAART offered psychosocial support and economic empowerment. Watching them heal from their ordeals and grow has been satisfactory. Slowly but surely they are able to stand on their own.
The other great achievement for 2015 was the Arts to End Slavery project. This was a project intended to spread information about human trafficking through art. The project popularly known as A2ES was very successful. It rounded up about 30 artists who came up with art pieces about human trafficking from paintings, to sculptures, photographs, and even poetry. The culmination of the project was done in a conference that saw different stakeholders working in the field of human trafficking attend. The good news is, the project will be on again this year and this time our partners PAWA254 will take the lead role in spearheading it.
Talking of partnerships, 2015 was a year in which HAART entered into many valuable partnerships with different stakeholders. We were involved in different forums such as the National Referral Mechanism workshop organized by UNODC, and we became part of new networks such as the Kenya National Human Rights Commission. This year also saw a lot of international travel by HAART staff to attend conferences, meetings and workshops by partners.
HAART also did a lot of research in 2015, including research on child trafficking. We held a validation meeting with stakeholders to get feedback from them about the research findings. This research will be used to come up with a manual for children and teachers to better their understanding about child trafficking. The other research, though not complete, is the research on the vulnerability of internally displaced people to trafficking. This is in partnership with GIZ and once it is out, we will share it with you.
Generally, HAART is satisfied by the work done in 2015 through teamwork. This is especially in victims’ assistance where we were able pick up new cases and assist, such as a group of about 20 women from Mathare slums in Nairobi. We were also happy with the growth in the staff members numerically and in expertise.
In 2016 we expect more growth as we fight human trafficking in the region.
By Phyllis Mburu