Kenya Blue Hearts Grassroots Initiative (KBHGI)

Blue Hearts against human trafficking
TheBlue Hearts Campaign against human trafficking by UNODC, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls human trafficking the crime that shames us all.

Fern Poetry, Sanalimu Art Ensemble and Rafiki Mwafrika are local youthful grassroots educative organizations that use performing arts to educate the public on issues of social economic justice. These three organizations together with Consolation East Africa (CEA) and Riruta Environmental Group (REG) have come together to form an initiative known as the Kenya Blue Hearts Grassroots Initiative (KBHGI).

The three artistic organizations intend to created artistic productions on human trafficking in a bid to reach a wider audience in Kenya. REG on the other hand intend to use its environmental mobilization activities to spread the counter human trafficking message. Apart from UNODC Blue Heart campaign, the groups have been inspired by the Koinonia Research and Development Service (KARDS)  study of 2009 on the proliferation of human trafficking within the East African Region. The blue hearts campaign by the  UNODC  presents an easy and simple image to reach out as many publics as possible. It could also be explained in the following ways:

  • There is need to help eliminate the contemporary forms of slavery in Kenya and East Africa. These include the exploitative massage parlours, brothels, gardens, sex tourism, exploitative domestic work, mines and the forced labour, and the sexual exploitation and exploiting  the bodies of other human beings for organs to be used for medical and other purposes.
  • Women and men  get smuggled across borders in search of jobs as house servants. Once in their destinations they become captives and cannot escape ending up as victims of human trafficking. Young girls and women on the other hand are offered a plane ticket to take a well-paying job in another country to find out upon arrival that the job is nothing better than prostitution, and cannot escape until they have reimbursed the investment that was made in them, are the victims of human trafficking.
  • Vulnerable children who are taken away from their home environments for purposes of being sponsored and then end up becoming slaves too are victims of human trafficking.
Following the 2009 study, KARDS has used various approaches to educate the various publics on the extent of both domestic and international human trafficking. The KARDS campaign is done through Consolation East Africa (CEA) a local NGO dedicated to spreading the awareness against human trafficking in Kenya and Tanzania’s FBOs and Grassroots organizations. CEA on its part builds the capacity of grassroots organizations to educate their own communities by use of “grassroots innovative approaches.” Hence it is for this reason that Fern Poetry, Sanalimu Arts Ensemble and Rafiki Mwafrikaare now collaborating through the use of arts and drama to disseminate counter trafficking messages to schools, faith based organizations and general publics as part of their community outreach programs.
It is in this same spirit that the member KBHGI  have provided partial sponsorship for this play. They intend to perform their play known as Blue Hearts in the local theatre groups in Nairobi and also take it to the grassroots through in their community outreach program and school tours.The KBHGI initiative is looking for more partners and supporters. Their main aim is to use performance and visual arts and environmental tools to spread  messages against human trafficking.The activities of the KBHGI can be seen from here:

Fern Poerty

Sanalimu Arts Ensemble


Programme: Counter Human Trafficking Symposium for the Faith Based and Grassroots Organizations in East Africa

Counter Human Trafficking Symposium for the Faith Based and Grassroots Organizations in East Africa

Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 24th Nov.2011

Scientific Committee

1. Richard Ochanda

2. Elias Mokua

3. Paul Kisolo

4. Kuria Njenga

5. Mary IRCK



 8.00-8.30 hrs: Registration Hall A

 8.30 to 10.30 hrs: First Session Welcome and Introduction Moderator Paul Kisolo, Executive Consultant KARDS

 Practical Experiences I

1. Combating Human trafficking along the Kenya Coastline – Paul Adhoch – Trace Kenya, Mombasa

2. Commercial sex workers in Mombasa and exposure to human trafficking- Ruth Lewa, Solwodi, Mombasa

3. Human Trafficking in the Great Lakes Region: Focus on Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo Region. John Ndayishimiye. Koinonia Community. Nairobi

4. Organization landscape and social innovation amongst the FBOs and CSO’s tackling the problem of Human Trafficking in East Africa- Richard Muko Ochanda, KARDS, Nairobi

 11.00 to 13.00 hrs: Practical Experiences  II  Hall A: Moderator  Richard Muko Ochanda

 4. Experiences of those affected by the problem of human trafficking- Joseph Kamau-Former Coordinator, Peace and Justice Commission, Tangaza, Nairobi

5. How the human trafficking problem contributes towards the street children phenomena-Joyce Mango- Hope for the Children, Dar es Salaam

6. Problems encountered by domestic workers and their susceptibility to human trafficking. Albert Masawe, REST, Dar es Salaam

 11.00 to 13.00 hrs: Practical Experiences  III Class C4: Moderator Carolyne Wairimu

 7. Vulnerability of women in Nairobi’s poor areas and exposure to Human Trafficking- Martha Mwende- Kivuli Youth Group, Nairobi

8. Environmental concern in relation to countering human trafficking –  Godfrey Rayo Kilei-REG, Nairobi

9. Refugees and vulnerability to human trafficking- Dr. Andre Niyonsaba –UNILAC, Nairobi


 11.00 am to 13.00 hrs: Practical Experiences  IV Hall A: Moderator Kuria Njenga

11. Resource mobilization opportunities and challenges for the counter Human trafficking organizations in East Africa- Paul Kisolo- KARDS, Nairobi

12. Social  networking amongst the counter human trafficking organizations in East Africa and data management-Richard Muko Ochanda, KARDS, Nairobi

13. Attracting media attention to enhance counter trafficking work amongst the FBOs and the grassroots. Esther Kabugi, Koinonia Community, Nairobi

 14.00 to 16.00 hrs: Psychological and Emotional Care for the Traumatized Hall A: Moderator, Ruth Lewa

14. Enhancement of trauma healing through support structures; focus on trafficked victims and badly exploited persons.  William Omondi –Chief counselor  Koinonia Community, Nairobi

15. Trauma counseling and debriefing for the seriously emotionally disturbed; focus on human trafficking victims- Marcellina Obudo -Rescou Counseling Center, Nairobi

16.  Human Psyche in Human Trafficking: A self Consulted Decision: Nuru Ya Nyota, Nairobi

16.00 to 17.00 hrs: Performance by FERN POETRY


 8.30 to 10.30  Moral Reflection: Hall A: Moderator Paul Adhoch

16. Theological reflection on the problem of human trafficking- Dr. Elias Mokua-Jesuit Hakimani Center, Nairobi

17. Selfishness, pursuit for economic success vs. morality, Richard Muko Ochanda, KARDS, Nairobi.

11.00 to 13.00 hrs: Community Participation I Hall A: Moderator Joyce Mango

18. Student role in mitigating human trafficking; focus on tertiary institution-Kuria Njenga- IMCS, Nairobi 

19. The role of community media groups in tackling human trafficking, Faith Mwende, KOMNET, Nairobi

20. How FBOs can act to counter human trafficking- Pastor Allan Asava,  Purpose for Living Church, Nairobi

11.00 to 13.00 hrs: Community Participation II Class Hall C: Albert Masawe

21. Soliciting the collaboration of peace and justice commissions in combating the Human Trafficking problem from the national to the grassroots-Joseph Kamau-Former coordinator Peace and Justice, Tangaza College,Nairobi

22. The role of performing arts in mitigating human trafficking-Bernard Muhia – Fern Poems, Nairobi

11.00 to 13.00 hrs: Education and Empowerment Class C4: Godfrey Kilei

23. Primary adult education as a strategy to mitigate against Human Trafficking-Kivuli Language Centre

24. The role of technical education in reducing the vulnerability to Human Trafficking – Eric Kirea- Diakonia Institute, Nairobi

25. Education as a mitigating tool against human trafficking- Felix Shivachi-  Topmark, Nairobi

14.00 to 16.00 hrs: Legal and Judicial Assistance Wednesday Hall B: Moderator, Tom Owenga

26. The legal aspect and human trafficking-Radek Malinowisky, HAART, Nairobi

27. The Kenya Anti Trafficking Law and Ensuing Implementation Challenges – Richard Muko, KARDS, Nairobi

28. The Tanzania Anti Trafficking Law and Ensuing Implementation Challenges – Albert Masawe, REST, Dar es Salaam

29. The Legal Chalenge vs Child Labour and the Need for Survival: Experience of AFCIC in Thika Municipality.  Phillip Wairire, AFCIC and KLAW, Thika.

16.00 to 17.00 hrs: East or West Home is best. Sanalimu Art Ensemble


8.30 to 10.30 hrs: Monitoring and Evaluation Hall A Thursday: Mary IRCK

29. Counter Human Trafficking Interventions Impact assessment using the RE-AIM framework, Tom Omwenga, Child Aid Organization, Nairobi

30. Counter Human Trafficking Interventions Impact assessment using the Rainbow Score Card, Paul Kisolo, KARDS, Nairobi

31. Knowledge management for improvement of human trafficking practices-Sammy Mwangi-Consolation East Africa, Nairobi

 11.00 to 13.00 hrs: Social Cultural and Political Influences Hall A Dr. Andre Niyonsaba

32. Social-cultural aspect of human trafficking- Caroline Wairimu – HAART, Nairobi

33. Masculinity as a social construct promoting human trafficking- Charles Koech-Men for Equality, Nairobi

34. ICT and Problems Related to Human Trafficking. Harrison Kyalo, Koinonia Community, Nairobi

35. The Kenyan National Anthem as a tool against exploitation and human trafficking – George Ndikwe, KOMNET, Nairobi

14.00 to 16.00 hrs: Close up session and summary:

36. Moderator, Paul Kisolo Paul Adhoch-Trace Kenya,  Ruth Lewa-Solwodi and Richard Ochanda-KARDS

16.00 to 17.00: Vigilante Judges Drama by Rafiki Mwafrika

For any further information kindly call +254 736 935 387 or 0720 444545 or 0720 812 638

Eight foreigners seized as police uncover racket


Security personnel in Turkana have uncovered a human trafficking racket and arrested eight foreigners in a swoop on illegal immigrants.


The eight Ethiopians were arrested in a racket that involves some transporters and foreigners operating illegally in the country.

Turkana South district commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said the Ethiopians were arrested at Lokichar trading centre while travelling in a bus from Kakuma to Nairobi at the weekend.

“The racket involves a cartel of transport operators who capitalise on the porous border points to woo foreigners into the country at a fee,” explained Mr Kanyiri.

He said the Ethiopians had fake travel documents and could not communicate in either English or Kiswahili.

“Investigations indicate that the transport operators receive hefty payments after safely delivering the foreigners to their destinations, especially Nairobi and Mombasa,” added the DC.

The driver of the bus that the foreigners were travelling in was arrested and would be prosecuted.

“It is wrong for bus and lorry operators to assist immigrants into the country as some of them have criminal records,” warned Mr Kanyiri.

Hundreds of foreigners were arrested in the North Rift last year in a swoop on illegal immigrants.


Police seize 32 illegal immigrants on road


Thirty two illegal immigrants were on Tuesday arrested at Wang’uru on the Embu-Nairobi highway.

Police intercepted four vehicles transporting eight Ethiopians and 24 Somalis from Moyale, where they are suspected to have entered the country illegally.

The foreigners were later driven to the Central provincial police headquarters in Nyeri, to await prosecution.

Unkempt and exhausted

The immigrants, most of them youths, appeared unkempt and exhausted.

Central PPO John M’Mbijjiwe said the officers intercepted the vehicles after receiving a tip-off from the public.

Mr M’Mbijjiwe said four men who were driving the vehicles were also arrested and would be charged with human trafficking.

The police boss said detectives were on high alert following what appears to be an entrenched human trafficking syndicate in the country.

On Monday, another 17 illegal immigrants were seized at Kambiti, a few kilometres from Wang’uru.

The latest arrest brings to 55 the number of foreigners seized in the past two weeks.

The immigrants pay traffickers to smuggle them into the country and to Nairobi where they acquire fake Kenyan passports which they use to travel to other parts of the world. Others are trafficked to southern Africa by road.

Elsewhere, police shot dead a gangster and recovered a pistol from him.

Police in Kiambu said the suspect was in a group of three who refused to heed orders to stop.

Central provincial police spokesman Francis Kumut said the gang was spotted at Ongata Rongai in a vehicle that had been used in a series of robberies in the area.


Police grapple with influx of poor Ethiopians

Illegal immigrants from Ethiopia crowded inside a single room at a house in Ngong Town on June 23, 2010. Photo/FILE
Illegal immigrants from Ethiopia crowded inside a single room at a house in Ngong Town on June 23, 2010. Photo/FILE
By JOHN NJAGI jnjagi@ke.nationmedia.comPosted Thursday, January 6 2011 at 19:54

For quite a long while, Kenya has become a haven for illegal Ethiopian immigrants fleeing their country in search of a better life.

The immigrants are entering Kenyan in droves, presenting a security and logistical nightmare for security agents.

These foreigners access the country through the porous border in Moyale and proceed to northern and upper eastern Kenya.

Tales of Ethiopians being arrested, prosecuted and others repatriated in their hundreds have become legion in Moyale and Isiolo.

The Nation has learnt that the Ethiopians, mostly youths, are fleeing their country for South Africa, where they hope to find jobs.

It is believed those who have successfully used this illegal route and landed in South Africa, are urging their countrymen to try their luck, creating a frenzy among the jobless and poverty-stricken Ethiopians to join the band wagon.

Since Ethiopia is a landlocked country, the immigrants prefer Kenya, its southern neighbour and not Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west and Djibouti and Somalia to the east, some of which are traditionally hostile.

The “smuggling” of Ethiopians is lucrative and has become a cash cow for “hired” transporters and other brokers who arrange transport, safe houses and other logistics until the immigrants reach their destination.

End the menace

Kenyans involved in this illegality, have, however, not been left out by police in their efforts to end the menace, as they are often charged alongside the immigrants. Smuggling of humans is outlawed locally and internationally.

The UN outlaws any form of human exploitation for financial gain either through forced labour or sexually.

Like human trafficking, people smuggling is listed as a serious crime and differs with the former where people, especially women and children, are sold for sexual or labour exploitation.

The latter involves people voluntarily paying a smugglers to covertly transport them from one location to another.

In this case, mostly young Ethiopians are said to sell family property or personal belongings and pay smugglers to take them to preferred destinations where they hope to land jobs and get financial breakthrough.

Security officials are struggling to seal the loopholes used by the immigrants and have identified areas such as Forore and Turkana along the porous Ethiopia-Kenya border in Moyale District as the most notorious.

The foreigners are said to avoid the lengthy screening process at designated border entry points where the government also puts a cap on the number of Ethiopians allowed into the country at a particular time.

“Traditionally, the country does not require Ethiopians to acquire visas when visiting the country, but most of them enter the country illegally to beat rigorous immigration requirements,” says Upper Eastern deputy provincial commissioner Wenslas Ong’wayo.

To make it to Nairobi, where they travel by road to Tanzania, Mozambique and eventually South Africa, the illegal immigrants and their transporters have devised ways to evade police road blocks.

Evade road blocks

Mr Ong’wayo says despite the fact that there are about five road blocks from Moyale to Isiolo, the Ethiopians still manage to evade them by trekking for several kilometres through the bushes and boarding a vehicle where there are no police barriers.

But despite the transporters’ ingenuity to escape police traps, security officers say they have arrested an estimated 2,000 Ethiopian immigrants since the beginning of the year.