Kenyans seeking greener pastures abroad have been cautioned to be aware of human traffickers who promise them heaven but instead offer hell.
Speaking during the Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Seafarers workshop on 1 July 2015 at Rosa Mystica Centre in Nairobi, Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART) official George Matheka advises Kenyans seeking employment outside the country to research widely about the places and organisations offering them employment, share information about the opportunities with their relatives, Church leaders and government officials, chiefs, consult the embassy of the destination country and labour offices for guidance and confirmation that the places and jobs advertised actually exist.
Matheka said that thousands of people ferried from Kenya are taken to serve as domestic workers in houses and brothels for sexual exploitation with meagre pay way below what they are usually promised. Matheka says most trafficked persons end up suffering psychological trauma, verbal and physical insults, detention and sometimes they are even killed. “There are thousands of Kenyans, treated as slaves, given domestic jobs even with all the degree and masters certificates that they hold,” He said.
He said corruption is a major contributor to the unending movement of people towards the middle east countries in spite of reports in the media about the predicament of trafficked Kenyans abroad. The Human trafficking specialist also blamed laxity on the part of police officers and the judiciary in implementing the anti-human trafficking act 2010, “None of the human traffickers has ever been prosecuted, why?. He wondered.
Matheka reported that most of the victims that HAART has been able to rescue and counsel complained of a slow response by Kenyan embassies to rescue them when contacted. He therefore called upon various government wings to join hands with relevant organisations in saving Kenyans and to have institutional reforms by training police officers on issues of human trafficking.
The Counter Trafficking in Persons Act, became law in 2012, but there have been very few successful prosecutions because of the high threshold of evidence required to obtain a conviction.
According to the US Government 2006 report, 600,000 to 800, 000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Globally, millions of people are trafficked internally every year and according to a UNICEF report of 2005, 1.2 million children are trafficked annually.
(By Rose Achiego)