The Role of Technical and Vocational Education in Mitigating Against Human Trafficking

Article by Eric Kirea Muriuki the Principal of Diakonia Institute in Nairobi, Kenya

Human trafficking an insult in the modern world, but a reality that must be addressed by the right minded people. Reports on human trafficking keep flowing through the media centers. One may ask what went wrong for human being to turn against its own species. Statistics on this vice is shocking yet very little is being done to curve the vice. Pessimisms one may term this, reason being, the whole world today is united to fight the vice. My question to the reader of this document: how true is this?

A statement in one of the Kenyan daily news papers states, “it operates as well guarded trade with coded language and hideous deals (wanja, 2011 daily nation).” Meaning that, those involved have perfected the ‘game’ on human trafficking, and therefore to win the game, the other player (the victims) must as well be in a position to the game.

For this reason therefore, this paper sets out to highlight the role of technical education in reducing the vulnerability to human trafficking. For the purpose of this paper, technical education can be referred to as skilled knowledge in practical subjects.

To this end therefore, this paper adopts the definition of human trafficking as per the  UN trafficking protocol of 2000, which states, human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt  of persons, by means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of exploitation such as enslavement, debt bondage, forced Labour or the removal of organs. The main reason to human trafficking from the above definition is for the purpose of forced labour, sexual exploitation and demand for human organs. This makes human trafficking inhuman activity.


Poor people especially women and children suffer from various forms of social and economic deprivation including hunger and malnutrition. Inadequate health care, limited access to education and low self esteem. Poverty therefore exposes many people to the risks of being trafficked. In this case, women and children who come from poverty stricken areas.

The other group that can be referred as vulnerable include the young unemployed people. Without any productive usage of their time, this group is easily entrained into crime and violence, it is the group that is highly predisposed to human a According to catholic relief service(CRS) blog,

“economic factors driving the increase and expansion of human trafficking include not only it self but also lack of employment options, increase economic disparities and rapid and economic decline in some countries”.

Technical education tries to address these two main areas (poverty and unemployment).  In order to explain this, this papers explores the environment in which TVET (technical, vocational and education training); the main institutions involved in offering these technical skills, operate.



  1. Weak national economies characterized by low job growth, and a growing labour force. Though human trafficking is a global tragedy, it is important to note the highly affected countries are those of Latin America, Africa and Asia that share this main characteristic.
  2. Shrinking or stagnant wage employment opportunities. It is important to note that there has been a tendency for young people especially in Africa to look upon the so called white collar jobs. Unfortunately with the high late of population not only in Africa but the whole world these opportunities keep on shrinking every single day.
  3. Huge numbers of poorly educated, unskilled and unemployed youth. Closely related to this is,
  4. Educated but unemployed college and university graduates. Most of the young people, especially in Africa take their undergraduate courses with the feeling of smooth future after they get formal jobs either within or out side the countries of birth. This is not always the case. This in inturn ‘predisposes them to human trafficking through fraud.
  5. Geographical, gender and economic inequities. In most African countries there is an equal distribution of resources due to some political and rersource based reasons. Human traffickers have a tendency to target these specific areas with the promises of better lives for the people of these areas.

Technical education stands best placed in solving the above listed challenges facing the third world economies. In most cases these are the predisposing factors to human trafficking. One may ask, how does technical education come about in reducing the vulnerability to this vice?


The starting point to this is the fact that employment opportunities are very minimal in the formal sector. The acquisition of business management and entrepreneurship skills for self employment becomes a major imperative in the design of technical education.

Technical education emphasizes on the acquisition of employable skills and therefore well placed to train the skilled and entrepreneurial workforce that Africa needs to create wealth and emerge out of poverty.

Technical education can be delivered at different levels of sophistication; can respond to the different training needs of learners from different social economic and academic backgrounds and prepare them for gainful employment and sustainable livelihood. In other words, acquisitions of these skills, does not depend entirely on how far an individual reached in his, or her formal education. Both primary school dropouts and university graduates can benefit from these skills.

Examples of technical skills

Building and construction, carpentry and joinery, welding and fabrication, agriculture, electrical i9nstallition and electrical  equipment repair, car repair and maintenance, water supply  and sani8tation system maintenance, domestic plumbing works, basic ICT skills, handcrafts, and tradition skills, etc.


The ultimate aim technical education is employment. This means it has to be linked with job market and therefore enhance its social economic relevance. Where there is employment, poverty level goes down. Which therefore means the vulnerability to human trafficking will be reduced.

This paper therefore put s into consideration the importance of technical education in addition to other areas of intervention, as one of the key to fighting this vice of human trafficking.


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