17 August 2007

Kenya: Tackling Human Trafficking Through a National Plan of Action

Tackling Human Trafficking Through a National Plan of Action - Members of a task force set up to initiate the development of a national action plan to combat human trafficking in Kenya are, with the support of IOM, being trained tomorrow on methods to counter human trafficking in the east African country.

IOM will then provide further assistance by hosting drafting sessions of a national action plan, leading up to a presentation of a draft plan to a national steering committee on countering human trafficking in September this year.

Kenya has been identified as a source, transit, and destination country for victims of trafficking. Kenyans are trafficked to other African countries as well as to Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Nationals from other East African and the Horn countries, as well as from Asia, also transit Kenya en route to other destinations or are taken to and exploited in Kenya.

In addition, internal trafficking of Kenyans is considered to be widespread, particularly from rural to urban areas such as Nairobi and Mombasa for exploitation in domestic labour and commercial sex. The majority of Kenyan victims are either trafficked or introduced to their traffickers by family members or friends, with the most common method of recruitment being promises of good jobs or education. Once in a trafficking situation, victims report overwork, physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or under-payment, poor working conditions, and restricted or no access to schooling.

The national steering committee was set up recently by the Kenyan government with technical support from IOM to combat the problem of human trafficking in the country and comprises government ministries, international organizations, non-governmental and faith based organizations. Its main purpose is the promotion and coordination of counter trafficking activities and to raise the profile of human trafficking issues in public and policy circles.

Since 2005, when IOM began to actively support counter-trafficking efforts in the country, it has carried out public information campaigns and awareness raising events with new campaigns about to begin shortly. In addition, IOM has conducted training for stakeholders in the counter-trafficking effort, the media and law enforcement and provided technical support to the Kenyan government in its work to effectively manage safe labour migration. Support is also being given to authorities in the preparation of draft counter-trafficking legislation based on the Palermo Protocol, which is aimed at preventing, suppressing and punishing human trafficking and is a supplement to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

For more information please contact Heather Komenda at hkomenda@iom.int or at +254.20.444.4174.

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