IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has reiterated its support for the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, in building the capacities of government officials and key stakeholders in the fight against trafficking in persons. IOM’s work in countering human trafficking is anchored on two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 5 on gender equality and Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth. It is against this backdrop that IOM Kenya was on hand to back the Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTiP) Secretariat on the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) with assisting victims of human trafficking. This happened during the capacity building workshop from 10-11 December 2018.
A total of 23 stakeholders (14 male and 9 female) drawn from the Children’s Department, the Ministry of Interior, law enforcement, as well as the communication department and civil society in Bomet County, participated in the workshop.It was the first time that such a workshop was held in Bomet which is dominated by tea farms and identified as a source, transit and destination area for victims of trafficking especially children and women.
The workshop was part of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme. This is a regional, multi-year and multi-partner programme funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry forEconomic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). IOM is one of the main implementing partners alongside UNODC, Expertise France, Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL, GIZ
and the British Council. Apart from Kenya, BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and in close coordination with the EU.
Ms. Carren Ogoti, Head of the Secretariat on Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTiP), urged stakeholders not only to concentrate on children as victims of trafficking, but also have a broader understanding towards other persons who also vulnerable to trafficking (women, men, elderly and others). She said, “It is very hard to isolate cases of trafficking and someone in need of protection, hence very important to carry out proper screening.” Ms Ogoti also shared that the Secretariat is establishing a shelter that would accommodate victims of trafficking regardless of gender or age. The secretariat would also work at increasing awareness on issues of trafficking in persons; as well as train police officers who often come into contact with victims of trafficking.
Ms. Nereah Kotonya, from the Interior Department, said cases of trafficking are rife especially in tea farms and timber yards. “It is very difficult to assist a victim of trafficking without the necessary resources or skills required, therefore most victims have fallen through the cracks and continue to suffer,” she added. Mr. Joseph Obwoja, Chief Information Officer in Bomet County, identified child labour and sexual exploitation as the major forms of trafficking in the county. He called on IOM and the CTiP Secretariat to create more awareness on the trafficking of persons especially at the grassroots level.
Through BMM, IOM has so far supported capacity building of 54 government officials and stakeholders in two counties -Turkana and Kakamega. IOM has provided technical support to government-run safe houses, reviewed the National Plan of Action (NPA) to combat human trafficking 2013-2017 and assessed the human trafficking situation in the coastal region. IOM continues to support the work of the Government of Kenya in countering human trafficking, as well as strengthening
government agencies and operationalizing the National Referral Mechanism in other counties.