The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Kenya supported the Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat under the Department of Children’s Services, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to organize a three-day workshop to review National Plan of Action (NPA) 2013-2017, on 14-16 August, 2018 to take stock on achievements Kenya has realized in implementing activities enacted towards combating trafficking in persons, as well as to identify gaps and challenges that various stakeholders have faced in their fight against human trafficking. The workshop was part of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme which aims to improve migration management in the region, and in particular to address the trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa. The programme is co-funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Thus, BMM is supporting the governments in the region to improve identification, assistance and protection of victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants, especially women and children, in the Horn of Africa.
The workshop was attended by 21 representatives (4 male, 17 female) from various government departments including Department of Children’s Services, Department of Immigration Services, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Witness Protection Agency, National Employment Authority, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), academia and BMM partners (GIZ, Expertise France and IOM). The representative of the Directorate of Department of Children Services and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Eric Ater, emphasized on the importance of the NAP’s contribution towards the realization of Kenya’s Vision 2030. “The National Plan of Action is key in resource mobilization in establishing shelters and safe havens for victims of trafficking. It will also guide in policy formulation and lobbying at the political sphere to ensure multi-agency fight against human trafficking”.
IOM Kenya Program Manager, Ms. Etsuko Inoue, highlighted IOM’s role globally in supporting governments on policy formulation and development of NPAs addressing human trafficking. She acknowledged all the efforts, dedication and collaboration of the Kenyan government and various stakeholders in fighting human trafficking. “It is important to have a multi-sectoral approach in ensuring justice is achieved for victims of trafficking. The new NPA lobbies for prosecution of the barons involved in trafficking of persons, rather than going for the small fish,” Ms. Juliet Gachanja Advocate and Former Chair to the Counter Trafficking in Persons Advisory Committee emphasized. She added that asset recovery should be explored, and the recovered money used towards operationalization of a trust fund on human trafficking.
This being the first zero draft the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection through the Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat will be organizing a subsequent workshop to fine tune the document in collaboration with IOM and various stakeholders. Kenya is a signatory to the Palermo Protocol, which seeks to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. In 2010 the country domesticated the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act which became effective in the year 2012 under the Legal Notice No.99. With the law in place the next steps would be to harmonize it with the Kenyan Constitution. The Government of Kenya is now ready to establish shelter houses for victims of human trafficking as part of the Medium-Term Plan III of the Kenya Vision 2030 flagship projects. IOM has been supporting the Kenya Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat under the BMM to promote the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking in Kenya at county level and providing technical support to establish government run shelter houses for victims of human trafficking.