Mombasa - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with the Government of Kenya launched an assessment report on human trafficking in the coastal region of Kenya on 30 July 2018. The assessment, conducted between November 2017 and February 2018, focused on the counties of Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi, where cases of human trafficking were reported to be rampant.
The launch of the report concluded the weeklong commemoration of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (WDAT) in Kenya. IOM collaborated with county and national government as well as local civil society actors to plan and conduct the trafficking assessment and WDAT activities in the coastal region.
Etsuko Inoue, Programme Manager, IOM Kenya said, “Trafficking in persons is often seen as an underground activity linked to irregular migration, hidden from the authorities and the public.”
The assessment provided a baseline and set of recommendations on the human trafficking situation in the coastal region of Kenya. Ultimately, the assessment findings will contribute to the strengthening of identification and referral mechanisms for victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants in Kenya.
IOM’s Inoue emphasized the role of front-line actors, such as border control agencies and border police, in the facilitation of timely identification of victims and potential victims of trafficking, as well as of traffickers. Developing the capacity of these actors to identify and refer victims of trafficking at an early stage remains vital in the fight against trafficking.
The assessment included literature review; stakeholder workshops; key informant interviews; and case studies. During all the county-level consultative workshops preceding the assessment, it was noted that the smuggling of migrants occurs and has become a lucrative business in the coastal region. The assessment further indicates widespread exploitation in the coastal region including child trafficking, forced marriage as well as sexual and labour exploitation. Meanwhile, 40 to 60 per cent of participants (depending on location) recognized the presence of debt bondage, removal of organs and slavery as well.
The assessment report recommends addressing unemployment and illiteracy; encouraging public and private sector partnerships in countering human trafficking; and sensitizing community and stakeholders. It furthers calls strengthening the capacity of stakeholders on relevant national and international legal frameworks, monitoring and ensuring proper enforcement of law, enhancement of internal and international coordination among stakeholders as well as research the nexus between human trafficking and violent extremism in Kenya.
“The Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat is committed to implement recommendations of the assessment and work together with other agencies towards fighting human trafficking in Kenya,” said Noah. M.O. Sanganti, the Director of Children’s Services, who represented the national government at the launch event.
For more information: Michael Pillinger, Chief of Mission, IOM Kenya Country Office, +254 20 4221 161, firstname.lastname@example.org
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