Friday, October 04, 2019

Kenya's Human Trafficking

Kenya has lifted the ban on its citizens travelling to the Gulf for work. The Kenyan government signed bi-lateral agreements with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates and lifted the ban in 2017. From early 2019, Kenya allowed Saudi Arabia to recruit domestic workers againAccording to the Ministry of Labour, at least 130,000 Kenyans work as domestic workers in the Arabian Gulf. 
The 2019 Global Report Trafficking in Persons report released in June by the United States Department of State profiles Kenya as a source, transit point and destination for people subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
Released every year, the report classifies countries into four tiers based on their government’s demonstrated commitment to eliminate human trafficking.
  • Tier 1 ranking is the highest and indicates that a government meets the minimum standards of the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.
  • A country such as Kenya, with a Tier 2 rating, has not met these standards but has made significant efforts to do so.
  • The Tier 2 Watch List, on which Kenya was placed until 2015, is similar to Tier 2 with the exception that the number of human trafficking victims is significantly high or significantly increasing.
  • Tier 3, which is the worst ranking, indicates that a country such as Saudi Arabia has not met minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking, and is not making significant efforts to do so.
The Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative, a data hub on human trafficking, affirms that like Njambi, children and youth are more vulnerable to human trafficking for primarily sexual exploitation and forced labour.
  • One in every six victims trafficked is a child,
  • Two-thirds are aged 18 through 29,
  • 17 percent are aged between 30 and 47, and
  • Less than one percent are over 47 years.
“Poverty and gender inequalities are some of the factors that make women and girls vulnerable to human trafficking,” Zuleikha Hassan, Kwale County Member of Parliament, and founder of Tawfiq Muslim Association, tells IPS. “We have to aggressively educate communities to identify human trafficking situations that come disguised as the job of a lifetime.”
“The lucky ones made it home bruised and battered. Others came back in coffins. In 2014, the government banned Kenyans from travelling to the Middle East for work,” says Dinah Mbula, who runs a recruiting agency in downtown Nairobi. “Victims of human trafficking are treated like criminals. That is why recruiters continue doing their job because they know chances that a victim will report to the police are next to zero.” 

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