Human trafficking: I dreamed of a better life (3)


By Shreya Karia

STATISTICS: 2.4 million young people trapped in the illicit world of Human Trafficking 50% of trafficked victims are children

Hands Tied

Lyndsey’s tale reveals the stark facts of the matter. 80% of human trafficking is a cross border affliction, carried out by masterminds who identify and take advantage of loopholes. Their meticulous knowledge of the immigration workings within country to country enables them to outwit the system. Having worked in the human rights field for numerous years Sofia is quick to point out that for any measure to be effective the entire region needs to work as a whole. Currently victims of cross border trafficking have limited recourse to justice and protection due to the lack of mutual legal assistance. At best, their repatriation home is all that can be guaranteed. Ultimately there is nothing preventing these victims from falling prey all over again. In the East African region, Kenya is ahead of its neighbours in creating a sustainable legal framework. But whilst crucial steps have been taken, in truth we are still on a long path to seeing a streamlined strategy with resources and judicial systems aligned that prevent criminals from border crossing with ease.

Perpetrators can receive up to 30 years in jail if convicted under Kenya’s Anti–Trafficking Law

Be Vigilant

Eunia, a young girl living in Korogocho was sent by her mother to run errands in Nairobi. Seizing an opportunity, a tout tried to confuse and lure Eunia onto a matatu headed to Loitokitok. Sensing that something was amiss, a good samaritan convinced Eunia to instead come home with her where she could safely be returned to her family. Through police interrogation and the ‘samaritan’s’ intervention, it was established that this was a situation of aborted child trafficking – Loitokitok has had many record cases of child abuse in recent years.

Just like Eunia’s benefactor, the general public can play a crucial role in curbing human trafficking. According to Alice Kimani, by being alert and aware we can spot unusual occurrences. Ask yourself does this scenario seem genuine? In the case of children, Alice strongly advises contacting the police or government child welfare workers to assess a situation. Ask yourself why a child is working the streets in the middle of the day instead of being at school. Likewise, follow ethical employment practices; children should not be hired for domestic servitude.

More than 1 million of the Kenyan child labourers work in tourism, agriculture or domestic servitude

For those looking to migrate overseas because of a better job opportunity, do the research. Is the agent you are dealing with legitimate? Do they have adequate and accurate information about the job you are being promised? Once again Alice advocates vigilance in ‘travelling safe’. Keep multiple copies of your passports and other documents with family and yourself, register with your embassy on arrival and know the emergency hotline numbers. But always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Throughout my investigations, the one certainty that has been unearthed is that human trafficking does not end itself. Nor is it adequate to presuppose responsibility lies with a few stakeholders. As responsible members of our communities, each person has a significant role to play. Whether through awareness raising on the pitfalls of being lured into elicit work or highlighting the effects of the trafficking trade every contribution counts. Playing our part to keep children in school or contacting authorities in situations that do not appear just, can save a life. The private sector and business communities can especially yield extensive influence by adopting no tolerance employment policies that push for fair pay, humane working conditions and above all, zero clemency for child exploitation. It is our obligation to see that people like Njeri and Lucy who dream of a better life obtain it with dignity.



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