NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – Judie Kaberia was announced winner of the Labour Migration Awards for the Migration and Health category and was recognized for her role in exploring cases of human trafficking through an article published on Capital FM: Human Trafficking Victims At Risk As COVID-19 Ravages The World.
Kaberia was among eight winners of the awards organized by the African Women in Media in partnership with the African Union (AU), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Nodumo Makaza and Debra Matabvu were the 2nd Runner up and 1st Runner up respectively.
The category was focused on stories that highlight or examine the health risks of migrant workers and the practices on the protection and promotion of their health and safety.
In acknowledging the award, Kaberia thanked the organizers for the opportunity which, she said, encouraged her as a journalist to explore under reported issues affecting marginalised populations.
“As I was working on Human trafficking stories I kept on wondering whether people knew these stories that are happening and given less attention. And looking at the lack of shelters and the overwhelming number of victims that were received, it was a sorry state,” she said.
She urged other journalists to explore stories that will have an impact on the populations and that will touch lives of many people
“I am happy that the story had an impact; we got Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Government to come together and make contributions for sanitizers, mask, food, and funding, it encourages one to do a story that can change a society and the lives of people,” she said.
In her story, Kaberia highlighted how under the COVID-19 era, victims of human trafficking remain exposed as social-distancing, staying at home, washing hands or wearing masks is next to impossible.
In the article published on Capital FM News, Kaberia embarked on a mission to check on the plight of beggars living with disabilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Her expose revealed that most of the beggars were still on major streets in Nairobi despite the stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
A report by East Africa Monitor indicates that Kenya is ‘one of Africa’s top destinations for beggars’ and points fingers at cartels that turn the beggars into money-making assets. According to the report, “victims are picked up by a cartel that overlooks their movements and pockets most of the money they’re able to collect.”
The report states that the human trafficking web operating in Kenya preys on beggars with visual, mental and physical disabilities from neighboring countries which include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Burundi as well as within the country.
Most of them arrive in Kenya on promises of eking a living through government-sponsored programs and special jobs which do not exist for illegal immigrants like them.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the beggars would collect as much as Sh3, 000 per day but now this has dwindled to below Sh1, 000 a day.
Capital FM News found piles of wheelchairs stashed in two rooms in Korogocho due to ‘low business’ for the begging community. Most of the beggars cannot raise enough to hire a wheelchair for Sh150 a day.
But this has not deterred their ‘bosses’ from demanding money from them despite the risk of contracting COVID-19.
By 5.00pm, the beggars start heading back to their rooms right in time before the curfew.
Exhausted, dirty and exposed, they return to their tiny rooms where they are stashed in fours or fives with most pairing on one bed…
Below is the link of the full story: