Operationalization of the National Referral Mechanism for Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking in Turkana County

Focus Wed, 06/27/2018 - 10:40 Share

The two-day workshop provided the participants with a thorough understanding of human trafficking and the corresponding legislative framework in Kenya. | Photo by IOM Kenya

On 29 and 30 May, IOM, the UN Migration Agency in collaboration with the Counter Trafficking in Person’s Secretariat (CTiP), facilitated a 2 days dissemination workshop of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking in Kenya in Turkana county, Lodwar town.

The workshop was supported by the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme, which is funded by the European Union through the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The target group was comprised of Government officials from the Department of Children’s Services, the Police, Judiciary, Department of Education as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), resulting in 23 participants (14 male, 9 female).  The two-day workshop provided the participants with a thorough understanding of human trafficking and the corresponding legislative framework in Kenya. Ms. Ruth Njuguna and Ms. Brenta Muli from the CTiP Secretariat presented the National Plan of Action and took participants through the NRM in order to develop a county based referral mechanism.

Ms. Lucy Mutuku, Programme Assistant at IOM, shared IOM’s Guidelines for Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking in the East Africa Region, while Ms. Elizabeth Mbuka from the CTiP Secretariat, emphasized on the importance of better understanding concepts of trafficking and smuggling in order to implement and operationalize the NRM in the county.

Mr. Kennedy Mushiri, a magistrate in Lodwar, pointed out that the Counter Trafficking Act is considered in courts as a very harsh one. However, rarely are the magistrates put in place to prosecute these cases. “This workshop will further enhance the stakeholders’ capacity in handling human trafficking cases. Specifically on prevalence of human trafficking, identification of key stakeholders who can be of assistance to the victims, knowledge on laws governing trafficking of persons, prevention and referral of victims of human trafficking,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Ekono Joseph, the CEO of TUREDO (a Community Based Organization), mentioned that it can be hard to arrest and prosecute the traffickers, mainly because the victims are not aware that they are victims of trafficking: a fact brought about by a lack of knowledge on human trafficking by key stakeholders.

The Guidelines - National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking in Kenya is a government strategy that brings together stakeholders from different sectors to work towards countering trafficking in persons, in efforts to promote regular migration.

It also details a proper response and referral system for the stakeholders in addressing trafficking cases. These capacity building efforts contribute to the realisation of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Gender Equality (5), Decent Work & Economic Growth (8) and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (16). To date, under the BMM programme, IOM is supporting the Government of Kenya in its ongoing effort to establish government run shelter houses for victims of human trafficking.

Under BMM, IOM has supported 3 trainings for 42 immigration officials on document examination, fraud detection, countering human trafficking and smuggling and 3 trainings on Integrated Border Management for 65 border officials from the Border Management Committee to improve migration management in Kenya to date.