Organizational Landscape and Social Innovation amongst FBOs and CSOs tackling the problem of human trafficking in East Africa

Participants at one of the symposium plenaries

Article Presented by Muko Ochanda at the FBO and CSO counter Human Trafficking Symposium

Grassroots organizations are becoming important players helping to solve community based problems in East Africa. Several studies show that these types of organizations were on the decline during 1980s because of restrictive policies and started reappearing in 1990s as a result of the liberal reform environment. In the 2000’s the contributions of the grassroots organizations became significant in advancing human development within communities through promotion of knowledge based activities, improving the quality of lives and community income earning abilities. They exemplified a social welfare and empowerment structure amongst the poor. They hence help in increasing the poor people’s participation in the social and economic development of their countries.

The grassroots organizations in East Africa take the form of community based organization (CBOs), self help groups, village based organizations to address particular challenges or simply endeavors developing around important issues and some small groups related to the faith based communities. They represent vulnerable groups who are severely affected in terms of material conditions and vulnerability to local community, national and global policies and economic conditions. It is important to note that the term grassroots does not take care of the latent differences amongst members in terms of resources, skills, education, those directly or indirectly affected by the problem being addressed. These differences have a bearing on the differences in terms of participation and benefits accruing to each member within the grassroots groups.

Apart from addressing other challenges, the grassroots organizations can also become important players in addressing the problem of human trafficking in East Africa. Past studies have shown that some cultural aspects skewed against the female gender in all East African communities have tended to fuel human trafficking. These aspects include early marriages, parents easily giving their girl children to help raise family income, hiring of girl children as domestic servants, denying women of inheritance and the culture of wife inheritance. The oppressive gender based aspects are too many and it is not very easy to exhaust them.  Oppressive cultures commove with subjugation in other aspects of life such as in politics, economics, religion and education.

Media reports since 2008 have shown that human trafficking in East Africa takes various forms.  In some of the conflict ridden countries of East Africa they may take the form of abductions of children and women to be used for militia, domestic duties or sexual purposes. Dominant amongst the media have been the reports of human trafficking for ritual sacrifices or for extraction of organs to be used as mascots. Organs too are sold exorbitantly to the wealthy patients in advanced countries requiring transplants.  People have also been trafficked for labour or to satisfy the sexual needs of sex tourists both at domestic levels and internationally. There have been cases of traffickers targeting children who are sold to childless parents. Albinos have been a great target for people seeking the opportunity to sell some of their body parts for ritual purposes. Traffickers have included law enforcement agents, quack employment agencies, diplomats or even the members of the public. Some while committing this offense did not know whether or not it was an offence. On the other hand the common problem in the media has been to mix the issues of illegal migrations, smuggling and trafficking in persons. In extreme cases the trafficked victims may be murdered. It is important to note that all survivors of trafficking have deep psychological wounds that are too heavy for anyone to understand.

Counter Human Trafficking Organizational Land Scape

Organizational Type

In a survey carried out in 2006 and in 2011 organizations in Dar and Kenya directly working to counter human trafficking were distributed as above. Countering human trafficking does not seem to be an objective of a majority of the CSOs and the FBOs. This is the case though 88% of the organizations indicated that they work to counter human trafficking while in the course of their work.

Organizational visions

Organizations addressing human trafficking tend to work on other areas of social justice.  A majority of the organizations tend to have a particular focus on children and gender based issues. A number however focus on eliminating human trafficking and offering assistance to the victims of human trafficking.

Organizational Objectives

The objectives of the grassroots and the faith based organizations working to counter human trafficking are prevention, social support, legal and judicial, reintegration, advocacy and others such as psychological and emotional support, health, talent development, marketing initiatives and civic engagement.

Preventive Activities

Prevention activities include awareness and sensitization activities, educational activities, life skills, economic empowerment activities and other activities such as rescuing young girls from early marriage.

Legal and judicial activities

Distr

%

Prosecution of traffickers

4

13.79

Legal representation of survivors

5

17.24

Documentation

7

24.14

Legal advice

11

37.93

Referrals

1

3.45

Investigations

1

3.45

Total

29

100.00

Very few organization carry out the component of the legal and judicial activities. Those that pursue the legal activities mainly offer legal advice, documentation, legal representation of survivors, prosecution of traffickers, referrals and investigations.

Social Support Activities

Distr

%

Spiritual accompaniment

15

25.42

Counseling and emotional support

23

38.98

Basic needs support

19

32.20

Others

4

6.78

Total

61

103.39

The social support activities include counseling and emotional support, basic needs support, spiritual accompaniment, basic needs support and others amongst them being reintegration counselling and health care.

Reintegration activities

Distr

%

Family empowerment

10

19.23

Spiritual accompaniment

10

19.23

Repatriation

7

13.46

Contact with Family

14

26.92

Contact with community

9

17.31

Others

2

3.85

Total

52

100.00

The reintegration activities include contact with families, family empowerment, spiritual accompaniment, contact with the community, repatriation and others amongst them being aiding in disclosure, health and economic empowerment.

Lobby and advocacy activities

Lobby and advocacy

Distr.

%

Public meetings and workshops

1

5.56

Legislative lobbying

1

5.56

Public processions and demonstrations

1

5.56

Media advocacy

1

5.56

Youth days

1

5.56

Expose bogus recruitment agents

1

5.56

Theatre and skits  outreach

1

5.56

Outreach programs for awareness

1

5.56

Networks formation vs TIP

4

22.22

Research

2

11.11

Capacity building

2

11.11

Advocate and lobby for the victims’ rights

2

11.11

Total

18

100.00

A few organizations are involved with lobby and advocacy activities. Biggest challenge in this area being the problem of attracting media attention. Activities pursued in lobbying and advocating for the victims include network formations against TIP, research, capacity building, pursuing for the human rights of the victims amongst others.

Average number of People Assisted by Kenyan organizations Annually

Male Ch Female Ch Women
Prevention

35

53

37

Legal and judicial

27

32

53

Social assistance

31

36

25

Reintegration

21

15

7

Lobby and advocacy

72

79

36

Others

12

8

10

Total

198

223

168

The total number assisted by organizations annually number 589. The majority being female children followed by male children and women.

Nationalities of victims and survivors assisted by Organizations in Kenya

Dist

%

Kenya

25

50

Tanzania

5

10

Uganda

5

10

Somali

3

6

Ethiopia

4

8

Rwanda

2

4

Congo

2

4

British

1

2

Polish

1

2

Indian

1

2

Chinese

1

2

Total

50

100

As can be seen most of the victims assisted are Kenyans followed by others from the Eastern African Countries to other continents such as Asia and Europe.

Age profiles of victims and survivors of TIP

Boys

Girls

Women

a. 0-9

6

8

b. 10-19

9

12

c. 20-29

9

d. 30-39

6

e. 40 & above

2

Total

15

20

17

For both girl and boy children the age most affected is 10 to 19 while for women it is 20 to 29 and 30 to 39.

Geographical Coverage

Dist

%

Division

3

12.50

District

4

16.67

Province

8

33.33

National

5

20.83

Inter national

4

16.67

Total

24

100.00

Organizations operate at different level of scope depending on the resources possessed by them.

Estimate of Annual Budget to address Human Trafficking

Distr

%

a. 0-250,000

2

10

b. 250,000-500,000

0

c. 500,000-750,000

1

5

d. 750,000-1,000,000

0

e. 1,000,000-1,500,000

4

20

f. 1,500,000-2,000,000

4

20

g. Over 2,000,000

9

45

Total

20

100

Organizations operate at various capacities as far as finances are concerned. Others operate with small budgets of as little as Kshs 250,000 while others operate with budgets over 2,000,000.

Who are the Institutional Donors against Human Trafficking in Kenya?

Rotary Club
Lions Club
Child of Africa
Unicef
International Organization for Migration
Mensen met een Missie
ANNPCAN
Action Aid
Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK)
Girl Child Network
Child to Child
US Embassy
Solidarity Centre
Pwani Christian Community Services
Swahili Online
Red Cross
Refineries Limited
Telcom
DANIDA
Dona
Kenya Ports Authority
Barclays Bank
Mabati Rolling Mills staff
Isendoon College, Holland
Oak Foundation
Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF)
Edgley Trust
Balcombe Trust

Institutional strengths of the FBOs and Grassroots against TIP

Distr

%

Civic education

5

12.20

Legal services

1

2.44

Lobbying and advocacy

5

12.20

Providing education to children

5

12.20

Addressing issues of reproductive health

1

2.44

Successful rehabilitation

9

21.95

Intervening to stop trafficking activities

1

2.44

Successful reintegration and repatriation

4

9.76

Empowering survivors economically (IGP)

2

4.88

Life skills as a prevention as intervention

1

2.44

Rescuing the victims

1

2.44

Formation of networks and support groups

2

4.88

TIP awareness creation

1

2.44

Research and documentation on best practice

1

2.44

Capacity building

2

4.88

Total

41

100.00

The FBOs and the Grassroots recorded  strengths in their operations. These strengths include successful rehabilitation of victims, civic education, lobby and advocacy, education provision, reintegration and repatriation support amongst others.

Weaknesses and limitations

Weaknesses and limitations

Dist

Human resources

2

Financial resources

10

Government slowness

7

Poverty

4

Ignorance

7

Illiteracy

1

Lack of adequate information

3

Complexity in applying the legal instruments

7

Irresponsible parenthood and disintegrating family structure

1

Early marriage of girl children

3

Complexity of  the trafficking in persons problem

4

Public attitude and complicity in TIP

2

Total

51

There are many weaknesses that act as impediments to the organizations major being financial resources, government slowness, ignorance, complexity in the application of the legal instruments and the ever evolving nature of the human trafficking problem.

Recommendations to curb TIP

Distr

%

Prosecution of offenders (break supply and demand chain)

6

9.52

Eradicate Poverty

6

9.52

Formal education

4

6.35

Awareness and sensitization to communities

11

17.46

Employment creation

3

4.76

Closer E.A collaboration

1

1.59

International collaboration

1

1.59

Enforce law on sex exploitation and other laws in place

2

3.17

Enforce law on human trafficking

11

17.46

Government to set aside a budget vs TIP

1

1.59

Strict migration policies

1

1.59

Strengthen community structures against TIP

4

6.35

Have specific projects against TIP

2

3.17

Close down bogus recruitment agencies

1

1.59

Closure of brothels in Kenya

1

1.59

Social services for the needy

1

1.59

Create interventions in the source areas

3

4.76

Support the feeding programme in schools

1

1.59

Support to the OVC guardians

1

1.59

Establish anti TIP committees at all border districts

1

1.59

Capacity build law enforcers and judicial structures

1

1.59

Total

63

100

There are many interventions suggested against TIP in Kenya. Some are decisive within the grassroots while others require the collaboration of the government and other institutional supporters all geared towards addressing the push and pull factors.

The suggested Practical Interventions

Temporary shelter for the abused while tracing and while court proceeding
Funds to effect repatriation of the survivor
Strong collaboration between government to help the surviving returnees
The brothels and strip joints cause the demand for Trafficked people
Need to involve the government; immigration, and concerned ministries on issues of discos
A network against TIP should be formed
Media should be put on the forefront to educate people on this issue
Assist the network organizations in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi.
A sincere network between the judiciary, government and teachers

Conclusion

Governments in East Africa have enacted laws to deal with the issues of trafficking in persons. However in addressing this problem there is need that the social actors move beyond the confines of the law and common practice to also address human rights issues. Awareness creation should take various forms. This thus calls the grassroots to be keen in the following five areas so as to contribute in the fight against human trafficking in East Africa.

i. Belief in the basic communitarian lines of action. The communities must be made protagonists of their own good.  Such community structures as self help groups, CBOs and other types of grassroots arrangements in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania would hence prove to be useful in mobilizing mass education efforts against human trafficking.

ii. There is need to build the capacities of communities to address their social, economic, political and

cultural challenges. Implementation of skilled education would help in addressing negative cultures and bring a desired transformation in the cultural, political, economic, social and religious spheres.

iii. Through research, it is important to help communities see what strengths and gaps are prevalent in

their own cultural practices. This will be important in awakening a capacity for sacrifice, self confidence and ability. It will help communities and individuals understand themselves and their values better and

hence work towards their own enrichment.

iv. Identify the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society. An example in our case being

which community is more likely to produce many victims of human trafficking? The vulnerable are the

ones who are most prone to the maledictions of human trafficking. This could be because of lack of education or being neglected. On the other hand we should avoid giving a privilege to the undeserving at the expense of those that really need our services.

v. The grassroots are deeply embedded in communities and are called to embrace a preferential option for the poorest in the communities and to be committed to simplicity. This commitment to action must be motivated by true charity and concern for the plight of the poor and their pain. They must therefore spend the resources at their disposal in a targeted manner in order to be of true benefit to the suffering and avoid wastage.

Lastly we appeal to all people of goodwill that when they see a situation of an exploitation or abuse, they should not keep quiet because that woman or child‘s life depends on them. In a number of cases where women and children ended up being murdered or seriously hurt, there were people who knew what was going on and did nothing. It is important not to burden your heart and conscience for having failed to help someone who really needed your help. Always remember that the glory of God is a woman, child and man fully alive!

FBOs and Other Organizations working to Combat Human Trafficking in Kenya

The Craddle
ANNPCAN
US Embassy
FIDA Kenya
SOLWODI
CISP
Association of Sisterhood of Kenya (AOSK)
Beach Girls Association
Purpose for Living Church
Wema Centre
Kituo Cha sheria
MEWA
MUHURI
Solidarity Centre
SOLGIDI
Mahali pa Usalama
CLEAR
Mariakani Girls Centre
COPDEC
SWAK
Catholic Diocese of Malindi
Consolation East Africa
Child Aid Kenya
Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART)
Riruta Environmental Group
Fern Poems Enterprises
Topmark High School
Catholic Information Services for Africa
Kenya Television Network
Nation Media
AMWIK
Women and Law in East Africa (WLEA)
IOM
Global Child Hope
ECPIC
COTU
Equality Now
ILO
Trace Kenya
UNICEF
Teens Watch Centre
KAACR
Mombasa Beach Girls
Catholic Arch Diocese of Mombasa
International Centre for reproductive Health
RECY
Red Cross
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