The Scourge of Human Trafficking
Edited bySr Janice McLaughlin
This publication would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many people and institutions. We are deeply grateful to MISEREOR for the institutional support that it has given to AFCAST for the first fifteen years of its existence. We extend this thanks to MISSIO, that joined as a partner in 2011 and has funded this publication.
Fr Elias Omondi, SJ, Regional Coordinator of AFCAST as well as Director of the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Nairobi, Kenya, took on the additional task of organizing and hosting the conference on human trafficking that makes up the content of this booklet. He and his staff put together an outstanding event that brought together most of the key players on this issue in Kenya. Special thanks to Dadirai Chikwekwete, AFCAST Administrator, who handled all the logistics with her usual efficiency and cheerfulness.
The presenters took their task very seriously, preparing in-depth analyses of the situation in their respective countries in regard to the scourge of human trafficking, while the AFCAST members helped to shed the light of the Social Teachings on this critical issue. We recognize that there is a wide difference in the figures that are used in each of the presentations, pointing to the problem of obtaining accurate statisticsof an illegal trade that is international in scope and largely hidden from public view. HAART Kenya not only gave an overview of the problem of trafficking but also prepared an exhibition of artwork that was done by survivors of trafficking, which included the collage on the cover of this publication that the artistic flair of Myrtle Mallis has used to eyecatching effect.
May this small booklet engage the readers in public discussion and action to bring this modern-day slavery on the African continent to an end.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and a global challenge that affects the entire world – countries of origin, transit, destination or even combinations of all of these. Despite the abolition of slavery more than two centuries ago, many people have continued to be subjected to slavelike conditions around the world. The victims of human trafficking are often held and forced to work against their will and treated inhumanely.
The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are subject to some form of slavery in the world today. The estimated number of those enslaved in Sub-Saharan Africa stands at 6,245,800,which is 13.6% of the world’s total enslaved population.This is exclusive of North Africa, which is categorized under the Middle East.
Human trafficking is manifested in different forms including, but not limited to, bonded labour, child slavery, early and forced marriage, forced labour, forced prostitution or other sexual abuses and domestic servitude. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the most prevalent form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation, which accounts for 79% of human trafficking. In this case, women and girls are the victims.
At second position is forced labour that accounts for 18%. Globally, children account for 20% of the trafficked persons, while in some cases in Africa they account for 100% of the cases, indicating the prevalence of child trafficking on the continent.
The causes of human trafficking are embedded in a range of socioeconomic and political conditions that are prevailing on the African continent, including poverty, lack of employment opportunities, political instabilities, and marginalization of some groups. Any of these conditions or combinations of factors, therefore, may force an individual to seek better opportunities through migration increasing the vulnerability to being trafficked. In some cases, draconian state policies have forced citizens to migrate to other countries, further rendering women and children more vulnerable to trafficking.
The fundamental concern here is the violation of human dignity. Catholic Social Teaching puts emphasis on the inherent dignity of each person who is created in the image and likeness of God. Human trafficking involves mistreatment of the trafficked persons in a manner that devalues this inherent dignity and undermines the respect due to every human person. Pope Francis, while talking about human trafficking in April 2016, noted: “Many times, many times these new forms of slavery are protected by the very institutions that should defend the population from these crimes.”
For this reason, in June 2016 the Vatican convened a gathering of senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates from around the world to share their experiences of trafficking and to sign a declaration pledging to take decisive action to support the survivors and their families and to prosecute the perpetrators. Kevin Hyland, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and a participant at this gathering, stressed its importance: “These stories (of trafficking), no matter how horrific, must motivate us not to hold back. They mandate us to not accept that a fellow human being can be treated as a commodity. We are people, not disposable goods.”
This book highlights the diverse experiences in Africa and how the clandestine nature of human trafficking has been institutionalized both at country of origin and destined countries in Europe, United States, South America and the Middle East. This means that human trafficking can only be fought by multi-pronged approaches and well-concerted efforts by governments, religious institutions, NGOs, civil society organizations, legal professionals, families and society in general.
I hope that this book serves as an advocacy tool, adding its voice to many efforts currently being undertaken to end human trafficking around the world and to preserve and protect the dignity of every person.Fr Elias Omondi Opongo, SJ1. Human Trafficking in Africa: Trends and ImpactRadoslaw L. Malinowski
Human trafficking is a phenomenon that has been haunting the global community since the end of the Cold War Era. Although the term human trafficking was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century, it is related to the problem of slavery and the slave trade. Even though we call our century the “human rights era” (Ignatieff), there are more slaves now than ever before.
Human trafficking now vs. transatlantic slave tradeHuman trafficking is often compared to traditional chattel slavery, as it shares the same purpose: exploitation. While there are several differences (e.g. slavery was legal and accepted by society, while trafficking is illegal and is not accepted), there are several commonalities such as the consequences of the said phenomenon on the society.
We can classify the impact of slavery on African societies into the following categories:• Economic• Political• Geopolitical• Cultural• Sociological
It is also possible to identify ways through which human trafficking has an impact within each category. In general human trafficking has:• Negative effect (through exploitation) on individuals (human rights abuses);• Impact on society through:• Destruction of social capital• Negative effect on labour force• Fuelling crime and terrorism• Widened gap between North and South• Health effects (spread of HIV/AIDS, creation of a new sub-type of HIV virus).
Conceptualization of human traffickingA contemporary definition of human trafficking is contained in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United NationsConvention against Transnational Organized Crime, also called the Palermo Protocol. It is important to stress that although human trafficking is also nicknamed “modern-day slavery” or “slavery of our time”, it is a different form of exploitation.
Below is the Palermo Protocol definition:a) “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs; (Palermo Protocol, art 3, 2000).(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used;(c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article;(d) “Child” shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.
Simple definition for practitionersThe above definitions attempt to provide a comprehensive, detailed approach to human trafficking, however, it is also long, complex and some terms are somewhat general. That is why there is an easier way of introducing a simplified definition, more suitable for practitioners:
Human trafficking can be defined as “the trade of women, men and children for the purposes of exploitation”. Two factors are necessary for human trafficking to occur: movement (although not always physical movement) and exploitation. Table 1 explains the dynamics of human trafficking. Each column has different components and for trafficking to occur we need at least one component from each column to classify a case scenario as human trafficking (e.g. the person is recruited, deceived and exploited through forced labour).
Table 1Activity + Means + PurposeRecruitment Threat or use of force Exploitationwhich may include:Transport Coercion Prostitution of othersTransfer Abduction Sexual exploitationHarbouring Fraud Forced labourReceipt of Persons Abuse of power or vulnerability Slavery or similar practicesDeception Removal of organsGiving payments or benefitsIt is important to note that Table 1 does not explain child trafficking. When the victim is below the age of eighteen, the table to be used is Table 2.
Table 2Activity + PurposeRecruitment Exploitationwhich may include:Transport Prostitution of othersTransfer Sexual exploitationHarbouring Forced labourReceipt of Persons Slavery or similar practicesRemoval of organs
The only difference between the two tables is that in the case of child trafficking we do not need the middle table titled ‘means’. This makes the conditions stricter and also makes it easier to classify a certain scenario as human trafficking. It’s enough for a child to be recruited and/or harboured and exploited for it to be trafficking. The child cannot consent to trafficking and even if a child appears to consent, such consent is irrelevant.
Human trafficking globallyIt is difficult to assess the exact number of human trafficking victims globally. What we are sure about is that human trafficking happens on every continent, and probably in every single country in the world. Several institutions and organizations attempted to give numbers, usually receiving heavy criticism (e.g. famous estimate of 600 000 to 800 000 victims sold internationally provided by US Government in 2006). We do not know for certain the number of victims and there are widely differing estimates that talk about millions of people trapped in modern slavery worldwide.
Typically there are several factors that push human trafficking such as: inequality, war and social conflict, AIDS pandemic, negative effects of globalization and certain cultural practices, just to name a few. On the other side, there are pull factors such as demand for cheap labour, demand from sexual industry or demand for organs (human body parts).
Categories of traffickingThere are several ways of categorizing human trafficking. One of them is according to the age of the victim:• Adult human trafficking• Child trafficking
Another way of categorizing trafficking is according to the destination. We can identify trafficking that is:• Internal (victim does not cross international borders)• External (victim is trafficked to another country)
Human trafficking can also be classified according to the type of exploitation. Here we have:• Trafficking for sexual purpose• Trafficking for forced labour• Trafficking for organ removal• Other forms of trafficking (e.g. forced combat, forced marriage and forced criminal activities)
It is important to note that there are also other typologies of trafficking, for example, according to gender (male, female), means (use of coercion, deception), type of trafficker (single person, organized criminal group), etc.
Human trafficking in Africa
The patterns, flows and varieties of human trafficking that are common worldwide also exist in Africa. These include trafficking of women for prostitution and sexual exploitation as well as forced labour on farms; in mines, sweatshops and factories; and organ trafficking for medical purposes.
However, there are less known variations of human trafficking in Africa such as: trafficking boys for cattle herding; trafficking young girls for house work; arranged marriages; arranged adoptions; trafficking human body parts for the purpose of witchcraft; the impregnation of a female person against her will for the purpose of selling her child when the child is born. These are some of the unique variations on the African continent.
Human trafficking affects every country in Africa, however some places can be named “hubs” of trafficking. These are: Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are also several major transcontinental routes such as: from Western Africa to Europe; from the Horn of Africa to Southern Africa; from Eastern Africa to Middle East; from Eastern Africa/Horn of Africa to Sinai Peninsula and Libya.
Human trafficking in Africa: Challenges
There are also several challenges when it comes to trafficking work in Africa. First, we often use the concept of trafficking that is common in the Western World. While there are many similarities, there are also differences. For example, human trafficking in Europe predominantly involves women trafficked for sexual purposes. In Africa, on the other hand, the most common pattern of exploitation through trafficking is for the purpose of forced labour. These differences are often forgotten as practitioners and policy makers follow the European example. This challenge goes together with the donor-oriented approach. Since most donors are based in Europe and USA, they streamline their funds according to the European or American patterns. Needless to say such projects will have limited results.
Another challenge is lack of reliable statistics. Inadequate data on human trafficking is a world-wide problem, but Africa in particular lacks reliable statistics on both victims and traffickers. This is due to the fact that many victims are not self-aware of their status. This, therefore, triggers an unwanted sequence of events as unaware victims do not report the crime, criminals go unpunished and are able to traffic others. In addition, service providers are often not equipped with appropriate skills that would enable them to identify victims of trafficking.
The final set of challenges is the relationship between human trafficking and migration. Migration, also large-scale migration, often includes some streams of trafficking. Also many migrants start their journey by being smuggled as economic migrants but end up being trafficked.
Victims of human trafficking: KenyaKenya is a source, transit and destination for different types of human trafficking. Men, women and children are being sold into modern slavery both internally and externally. The main destination abroad is the Middle East. Within Kenya, urban centres such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu are sources, transit and destination areas. The main types of human trafficking are:• Domestic servitude; mostly involving young girls due to traditional division of labour often accompanied by sexual violence;• Commercial sexual exploitation: prostitution;• Sexual exploitation, and pornography for both children and adults; most rampant in cities and at the Kenyan coastal region;• Street begging, street vending and drug peddling;• Organ extraction;• Forced labour: agriculture, fishing and cattle herding;• Forced marriage and other cultural practices.
Traffickers: Contrary to common belief, a vast majority of traffickers are Kenyans. In scenarios where trafficking is arranged by international organized crime, the recruitment is often done by Kenyan nationals. The majority of traffickers are male, but there are also females who traffic others.
Towards eradication of human traffickingHuman trafficking is a complex issue and as such requires a multilayered response. The UN proposes a 3 Ps Paradigm approach, namely:• Protection (victims’ assistance)• Prevention (for example, creating awareness)• Prosecution of culprits
There is often added a new P: Policy and Cooperation – that assumes the need of collaboration between the different institutions, organizations and groups in society. Below are some examples of possible interventions under each P.
Prevention• Grass roots workshops• Campaigns at national level• Youth oriented projects• Source – Destination collaboration• Vulnerable group empowerment
Protection of victims of trafficking• Identification of victims of trafficking and rescue• Emergency assistance• Legal assistance• Medical assistance• Psychosocial assistance• Long term reintegration programme
Prosecution of culprits (traffickers)• Pursue the cases in court• Work with law enforcement• Provide legal counsel• Prosecution that takes into account victim’s interest
Policy and cooperation• Collaboration between source and destination countries, within countries• Different networks internationally and domestically• Research on various streams of human trafficking
Future developmentsFrom the current changes we can foresee several future developments in human trafficking. For example, there will be ongoing criminalization and securitization of this problem. There is also a growing problem of human trafficking triggered by conflict and civil unrest. As the migration within and out of Africa is rising rather than diminishing, there is a possibility that human trafficking will also be on the rise, even as embedded in large-scale migration. Another growing phenomenon is terrorism – a trafficking nexus that is already happening and is likely to happen in the future on a larger scale.
Finally, there is a growing tendency to merge again human trafficking with human smuggling (as was done before the year 2000). Such a scenario will give an excuse to many receiving countries (often outside Africa) to avoid costly victim’s assistance as well as crime investigation and to deport victims of trafficking instead. Obviously, such a scenario will be efficient for a short period of time but it will result in derogation of the rule of law and proliferation of organized criminal groups – processes that always impact negatively on any society.Human Trafficking: The Case of South AfricaFr Peter-John Pearson
“Human trafficking is the final stage of exploitation.”Dr Monique Emser
Among anti-trafficking activists in South Africa, the story of Saartjie Baartman serves as a reminder of the degradation, the cruel deceit and the disposability of human life that is writ so large on the contours of South African history and which is also the tragic story of every trafficked person. Saartjie Baartman was twenty-one when a British doctor, William Dunlop, promised her fame, fortune and freedom if she came with him to London. None of that materialized. Instead, when she arrived there the doctor paraded her on stages around London to both stimulate the sexual fantasies of men and indeed to ridicule her racial features by exposing her very scantily clad unusual physical features for a shilling a peep. She was cynically named the ‘Hottentot Venus’. Six years later, discarded by Dunlop, she died alone and completely destitute in France. To add insult to injury, her body was dissected, her brain and genitals cut out and displayed in the Musée de l’Homme for the next 160 years until President Mandela requested that her remains be brought back to South Africa.
It is the story of every one of the 12.3 million adults and children in forced labour, bonded labour or commercial sexual servitude at any given time. It is carried in the cries of the 45.8 million people who are victims of human trafficking. It is imprinted on the blood money of every single transaction in every currency that makes it one of the fastest growing crimes, tied with the illegal arms trade and second only to the illegal drug trade. Women and girls account for 79% of all trafficked persons and 20% are children. Two out of every three children trafficked are girl children.
Problematic issuesIt would be easy to talk about South African legislation, to underline its victim orientated emphasis, with its strong provision for upscaling the capacity of law enforcement officers and the creation of special units and its compliance with the four ‘P’ principles. I wish instead to problematize five issues with regard to human trafficking in South Africa [or trafficking in persons as it is often referred to], which I believe undermine the important strides South Africa has made in crafting cogent legislation, passed in 2013, in this contentious, pathological area. Because these areas are in a sense unresolved, they open up space for further discussion.
South Africa is counted amongst the top eight countries in Africa with regard to human trafficking, with an estimated 100,000 people being trafficked annually. Recently newspapers estimated that 30,000 children were trafficked in and through South Africa mainly for the sex trade. (SA government then used these figures to tighten up visa regulations, to introduce retrogressive changes to refugee and migrant policies and to strengthen a security narrative in this regard but that’s another story.) It is well documented that South Africa is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking. Most trafficking in South Africa, in line with the trends for the rest of Africa, is related to sexual exploitation, cheap labour and more recently for human body parts or blood, needed for traditional medicine.
The problem with statisticsStatistics in South Africa are contested despite the fact that the growing number of trials indicate the numbers are accurate and indeed are growing. Last month (October 2015), for example: three men were convicted in a Durban court of trafficking in persons with the main organizer receiving a thirty-year sentence on eight counts (including two counts of Human Trafficking (HT), two of kidnapping together with rape and assault), the other two men receiving five years on two counts of HT and two-year (one kidnapping charge) sentences. Fifteen men were arrested in Limpopo at about the same time on charges of trafficking.
Academics and NGOs working in this area underline that the imprecision of statistics and even the exaggeration of statistics, while they generate the kind of moral outrage that is necessary in fighting this scourge, also create credibility dilemmas. These often hinder locating appropriate counter trafficking praxes, detract from constructive conversations which need something more precise than guesstimates and frustrate efforts to understand the multi-layered realities of the problem. South Africa’s preoccupation with numbers in order to understand the scope of the problem has, therefore, done little to promote an understanding of the complex issues associated with this phenomenon. Rather, it has often been a brake on the discussion and prevented the discussion from exploring the complexities of the issues. To give one small example – in the city of Pretoria, crucial decisions relating totrafficked children have been delayed while endless discussions around the credibility of statistics have raged on. This hinders the real mapping work being done to identify and probe areas which are most vulnerable to human trafficking. Making these connections is crucial for understanding the configuration of relationships in which human trafficking is rooted. It needs to be noted that because of the nature of the offense, the real numbers are always going to be concealed and, therefore, imprecise. What is worth holding in our hearts is the fact that whatever the number, one trafficked person is indeed one too many!
Allow me to make a second short but related point linked to the concealment problem which truly bedevils this issue. Marcel van der Walt has recently suggested that the hidden nature of the crime requires unconventionalthinking and flexible methodologies to understand the scope of the problem. Every member of society should be empowered to be a co-participant in both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Community based participatory research methods could be used to do so. This would help find significant themes in the seemingly insignificant events of everyday life which may suggest the presence of ‘hidden transcripts’ related to human trafficking.
A culture of impunityThirdly, and for me one of the most critical and toxic areas, is that South Africa provides in its very social make-up at present, a ‘welcoming environment’ for such pernicious activities. South Africa in many ways can be understood to provide a ‘culture of impunity’. Recent research by the sociologist Philip Frankel in his new book Long Walk to Nowhere: Forced Migration, Exploitation and Human Trafficking in South Africa and the ongoing research by academic Marcel van der Walt provide copious information detailing direct and indirect complicity of government bureaucrats and widespread and interlocked corruption at all levels of government, especially in the Department of Home Affairs and among security personnel. They point to a culture of impunity, a dysfunctional law enforcement apparatus and the paucity of border controls.
Already in 1999, a mere five years after South Africa achieved its liberation, the Institute for Security Studies reported that roughly 500 criminal organisations of varying sizes had sensed the environment and had begun to operate in South Africa. As van der Walt remarks: “This toxic concoction makes human trafficking an attractive business with high returns and low risk.” As recently as July 2015 he noted in a research paper that even though trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation is the most documented type of trafficking, locally and internationally, yet none of the international syndicates has ever been successfully prosecuted in South Africa.
Dr Monique Emser of the KwaZulu-Natal Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Pornography and Brothel Task Team has noted and underlined this pervasive sense of impunity from another angle. “South Africa is an extremely exploitative society with poor attitudes towards women and children. There is a low value to life that leads to people being viewed as commodities. South Africans need to be worried: human trafficking is the final form of exploitation.” This should give us cause for great introspective thought.
The effect of poverty and inequalityMy fourth point needs little elaboration. Poverty ensnares the vulnerable and desperation draws unsuspecting victims into the web of traffickers. Measures to combat the trade simply cannot be divorced from the overwhelming social pathologies including dire poverty, racism, inequality, unemployment and lack of education. All intersect at some point and impact on each other. South Africa has one of the most extreme measurements on the Gini Co-efficient, confirming that the internal inequalities between South Africans is as disparate as that of Brazil. In terms of per capita gross domestic product, South Africa is relatively wealthy but most of the country’s inhabitants are either extremely poor or are continually vulnerable to becoming poor. Thus, it is not possible to fight human trafficking without advocacy for policies that break the vicious cycle of poverty and inequality.
Policy-makers should be aware that inequality, even within one homogeneous group, is a major cause of crime. Public policy should focus on structures of social integration and facilitating communication in order to help build a new social fabric, or at least a sense of neighbourhood. In this case more than ever, the local (neighbourhoods) and the global (immigrants) both matter just as much and need to be integrated. Income inequalities generate pockets of poverty and crime concentrated in the same areas, not only between but also within groups, rendering people desperate and vulnerable. I saw footage recently of an area in Nigeria which had been identified as a key place for recruitment for women trafficked into the United Kingdom (UK). The UK government has now intervened in the area in multiple ways to reduce the vulnerability through work opportunities, schools and generally strengthening social capital.
Public policies, for example, that aim to restructure the labour market in order to tackle structural unemployment have a clear-cut positive effect on income levels and economic growth. Decreasing unemployment remains central to breaking the cycle of poverty and crime and restoring some social harmony. The point is clear that destroying the trade means increasing advocacy for pro-justice, pro-poor, pro-life interventions by governments. Without integration of policies and legislative interventions, we will stand no chance of breaking the trafficking cycle.
The role of culture, religion and the mediaMy final point is a concern about culture and here one must tread very gently and possibly even tentatively. There is evidence to suggest that traffickers are cynically, deceitfully and slyly using forms of ukutwala, thetraditional carrying of the bride, a customary practise in some cultures to bypass the expensive and lengthy marriage rituals. Aberrations in this cultural practice provide a subtle cover for trafficking. The strong cultural cover is a limitation to the degree of scrutiny applied when this transpires. The religious sanction that often legitimizes these cultural practices and which often are less critical of them because of the religious elements grafted onto them, also bear close scrutiny. Both religion and culture can be used as a control method and we need to be cautious, especially with regard to where benign condoning can lead.
In other contexts, the glorification of violence, kidnapping and such actions in movies and the media and the normatization of strong people who carry out these actions, mitigates the cruel impact of these actions in real life and lowers the moral outrage they should occasion. The domestication of violence and brutality lowers the bar and much behaviour that should be stemmed is, in fact, idealised, thus muting the reaction to it.
Linked in a way to both examples and to the plea to interrogate some cultural aberrations is also the concern that despite some valiant attempts, very often inspired by the faith communities, education, discernment of activities and awareness remains very low, disjointed and lacking in ‘political will.’ This creates openings for people to be trafficked without realising it or without holding a worldview that allows for such possibilities. This is an area in which much more painstaking, disciplined work needs to be done.
We each have a responsibility to actAt the end of the day change happens when we no longer are willing to stand by idly. There are those haunting words of Martin Luther King which we dare not forget: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really co-operating with it.”
Evil can only prosper as long as good people do nothing!
Exploited women and children are the most defenceless members of human society. They are bought and sold every day. Human slavery is not just a practice of the past but a poorly hidden, dirty secret of today’s world. It is time to fight the trafficking!
The passivity of guilty bystanders allows a cycle of violence to be set in motion, validates the spiritual corruption, and OK’s the complicity of perpetrators and bystanders alike. The tolerance of one area of wrongdoing has the power to undermine everything of value in our lives and in our societies. To stand by idly is to abet the moral decay of our society. Doing something about this scourge is not just about those who are victims or perpetrators but is also about us saying that we will not allow our city to be ruined because there are not enough righteous people.
God has promised that he will not destroy the city if the righteous stand in agreement in its breaches, in its broken places. This is surely a lesson for us. It can be the beginning of that revolution of the spirit for which we all petition; that the victims will be rescued, justice and peace established, the perpetrators brought to justice, the city saved and the generations to come have a better homeland bequeathed to them because we have dared to act now in the face of such a cruel travesty of justice.
The choice is ours, the issue is before us. We have it in our power to make a change. The courage residing deep in the human heart has in the past 100 years vanquished Nazism, overthrown apartheid, uprooted totalitarianism. They are now footnotes (maybe large footnotes, but footnotes none the less) on the pages of history. If we could do it then, we can surely do it again. We need to take to heart and contextualize the words of Nelson Mandela at his inauguration as the first democratically elected President of South Africa.
“Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”
We need in this hour to apply those noble sentiments to the abyss of human trafficking and pledge that never, never and never again will we allow our lands and this colossus of a continent to experience the oppression of one by another.
Human Trafficking in NigeriaFr Joseph Kacou Aka
Trafficking in persons is a general concept that includes other terminologies such as sex trafficking, re-trafficking, human trafficking or trafficking in human beings. To avoid any semantics we opt for the following definition from the Palermo Protocol because it encompasses all the other terminologies. Trafficking in persons refers to “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person, having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”.
Who are the victims? How does trafficking happen? Who are the people responsible? Where do they take the trafficked persons? What is the government doing to stop it? What are the churches, civil society and NGOs doing to address this problem, which can be seen as modernday slavery? The answers to these questions and some others, within the context of Nigeria, and for that matter West Africa, are the focus of this presentation.
Who are the victims?Even though the profiles of the victims may vary, nonetheless, some common grounds may be identified in all them. Some of these common grounds are found in other West African countries.
Though the victims can be found in all the cities in every country in West Africa, according to the EASO Country of Origin Information Report, the Nigerian victims are mostly found among the Edo people also known as the Bini. This is not to say that there are no victims from other states or ethnic groups. In fact, the report gives cases of Yoruba and Igbo victims as well.
Apart from the ethnic group, the age is also one element of the victim’s profile. In the past, the victims were mostly mature persons, but today the victims are recruited among the young, between eighteen and twenty years old. There are cases of victims under the age of majority, that is seventeen or even sixteen.3 According to Cherti and others in Beyond Borders, the lack of family or community support seems to play an important role in the profile of the victims: “The lives of the trafficked people in our sample were diverse but were commonly marked by a trigger or childhood experience, such as being orphaned, which led to them being without family or community support. Due to limited access to education, employment or safe refuge from violence, they were unable to support themselves and were vulnerable to offers of ‘help’ provided by traffickers.”
In addition to the above, we agree with Cherti, et al, when they add a poor economic situation among the elements of the profile. The trafficked persons are mostly, though not exclusively, from large, poor, unemployed or underemployed families, that are facing economic hardships.5 According to Plambech, some of the victims did not have primary or secondary school education, thus making illiteracy one of the elements of the profile.6 How does the trafficking happen? In other words what is the method used by the traffickers?
Methods of traffickersThe traffickers are very intelligent people who have developed a variety of strategies over the years. According to C. Okojie et al., in their work entitled Trafficking of Nigerian Girls to Italy, the victims were previously recruited through luring. It consisted in making the potential candidates to Europe listen to an audiocassette or a letter supposedly written by relations or acquaintances in the destination country, promoting the European Eldorado and inviting them to join them and have their share of the cake. Another method consists in joining some musical groups or sports teams invited to Europe for some events. In some cases, the trafficking is made by legally adopting the victims. This is done through an agreement between the traffickers residing in Europe and the biological parents of the future victims in Nigeria or any other West African country. Recently, the trafficking is done by using technology such as cell phones and computers, the TICs.
In media coverage by Al Jazeera, on ‘Trafficking in Edo State’, the women ready to be trafficked are made to swear an oath at a local shrine. It may also consist of taking some parts of the person or a cloth used by the person and making a drink that the woman takes while swearing three times that if she does not respect this oath may she encounter death. According to V. Nwogu in Human trafficking from Nigeria and voodoo: Any connections?, among the human parts favoured in the oath swearing are the hair, blood, nails, teeth and sometimes items from the woman’s intimate parts.
Personally I do not think that this oath actually casts a spell on the woman taking it. In my opinion the purpose of the oath swearing is to intimidate, threaten and coerce the woman to remain loyal to the madam or the financial sponsor of the trafficking.
Who are the traffickers?Those responsible for the trafficking are organized groups working in a network relationship connected often times with officials.9 These groups either make use of family members or professionals that range from recruiters and travel agents to law enforcement agencies, professional forgers, financiers and exploiters. However, one must cite the important if not the outstanding single role played by the so called Madam or maman.
According to the EASO Country of Origin Information Report, “The madam is the most important person in Nigerian sex trafficking and often also the sponsor financing the journey. Madams order the girls and sometimes recruit them. They often lead the trafficking organisations and monitor the trafficking process closely, from recruitment to exploitation. According to Europol, the number of women operating as traffickers is increasing. According to information dated 2005, madams in Italy were between twenty-five and thirty years old. In contrast, a 2007 study of Nigerian madams involved in the trafficking to the Netherlands showed that they were, on average, forty-five years old, had legal residence in the Netherlands, or were awaiting a residence permit based on a relationship or marriage to a Dutch partner. All had worked in prostitution in Nigeria and the Netherlands and had worked their way up to the role of ‘madam’ … Some of the madams have themselves been victims and became madams after repaying their debt. According to Europol, ‘victims often become members of the criminal groups exploiting them, ultimately assuming the role of ‘madam’ in the exploitation of others. In turn, this cultural novelty reduces the likelihood that victims will cooperate with law enforcement”. Carling designates this system a ‘selfreproducing organisation’.
Destinations of trafficked personsThe main destination of trafficked persons from Nigeria is Europe. According to the EASO report, Italy and Spain seem to be the first destinations. It notes, however, that they may also serve as transit countries from where the victims are transported to other EU countries, particularly to the Nordic countries. Other destination countries include the United Kingdom, where 244 of the 2,340 potential victims referred to UK authorities in 2014 were from Nigeria. According to the National Crime Agency, this was a 31% increase compared to the previous year. Portugal, France and Norway have also been assessed as destinations or transit hubs for Nigerian trafficked women. In July 2014, Portuguese law enforcement authorities arrested an organised criminal group of West African and Portuguese nationals suspected of trafficking young, mostly Nigerian women, to Portugal and other EU countries in order to exploit them through forced prostitution. In addition to the above mentioned destinations, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Switzerland are also involved in this phenomenon and indicate its importance to the global economy. Can such a well organized industry with its well structured networks be stopped?
What is the government doing to stop it?From reports at our disposal, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is doing a lot to fight trafficking in persons. These efforts range from law enforcement to sensitization:
Law enforcementA number of measures have been taken in this sense. They include:• The ratification, in 2000 and 2001 respectively, of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing protocol on trafficking in persons;• The introduction, in 2003, of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act which was amended in 2005 and 2015 to increase penalties for trafficking offenders; this Act is a Federal Legislation and applies to all the 36 States, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
Ground work• The creation in August 2003 of a specialised anti-trafficking agency, the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP), whose mandate encompasses investigation, prosecution, monitoring, counselling, rehabilitation, awareness raising, research, and training;• The adoption of a national action plan on trafficking in persons. In 2009, NAPTIP, along with its partners, developed a National Plan of Action (2009–2012) structured on the four thematic areas of Prevention, Protection,Prosecution and Partnership, the so-called 4 Ps Strategy. This plan was followed by a Strategic Plan (2012–2017) that aimed to tackle human trafficking in five broad areas:•Strengthening law enforcement and prosecutorial response;•Reinforcing public enlightenment, using various mediums, including movies, drama and documentaries to create greater awareness on the real impact of trafficking;•Expanding platforms for victim protection and assistance and addressing factors that increase vulnerability;•Strengthening partnerships at national, regional and international levels;•Improving organisational development.
These examples show that the Government of Nigeria is doing its part to raise awareness about this practice and also to put an end to it. What are the churches, civil society and NGOs doing to address this issue?
The roles played by the churches, civil society and NGOsThe roles played by the Catholic Church, civil society and NGOs are immense. The Catholic Church through Caritas Nigeria offers assistance in the reintegration of victims and conducts awareness campaigns against human trafficking at the grassroots level. These awareness campaigns consist in the prevention of trafficking in persons from Nigeria to European countries through awareness raising. The Church is also involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of victims or returnees, that is victims who have come back to Nigeria. Some civil society organisations and NGOs are also involved in these areas. Among the many NGOs doing a tremendous work against trafficking in persons in Nigeria, the Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW), stands out. Established with the help of the Nigeria Conference of Women Religious (Catholic Sisters) in 1999, it is pursuing the following objectives:• to resettle and rehabilitate those young women who may be repatriated or who wish to pull out of prostitution;• to educate families and young people of the hazards involved in travelling to Europe or elsewhere for prostitution;• to provide security for these young women and their families after they have opted out of prostitution;• to have a ‘welcome home’ where these young women are accommodated and regain themselves through counselling and spiritual direction. In this home they are assisted to reenter into the society;• to find ways of giving them marketable skills and helping them to set up ventures that will give them some selfsupport and make them self-reliant;• to work in collaboration with government agencies that are working for this purpose.
Last year from June 2013 to June 2014, the COSUDOW branch of Lagos assisted fourteen victims of trafficking who returned to Nigeria coming from Italy. Among the returnees, five who were destitute were supported financially by COSUDOW.
ConclusionMost of the information in this presentation is based on the report of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) provided by Fr Evaristus, Director of Caritas Nigeria at the National Catholic Secretariat. Other documents were provided by CAFOD Nigeria. The extent and destructiveness of trafficking in persons is so far-reaching and damaging that one organization cannot adequately and efficiently fight it. There is, therefore, the need for synergy of actions among the various individuals, organisations and government agencies that have decided to oppose this evil industry. The importance of this workshop organized by AFCAST cannot, therefore, be over-emphasized.
Human Trafficking in MozambiqueSr Anna Fontana
The ‘trade in people’ is a vile activity, a disgrace to our societies that claim to be civilized!Pope Francis
Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa and is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional grouping of nine countries that facilitates trade among the members and makes it easier to cross borders. Unfortunately, the fragility of the borders facilitates illegal border crossing and corruption of frontier immigration officials. The opening of the borders as well as the remaining consequences of the political and armed conflicts of Mozambique has made the country a source, transit and, to a much lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labour and forced prostitution. Poverty, systemic gender discrimination, and the absence of protective legislation make women and children particularly exposed to human trafficking. This terrible crime, which has properly been termed modern-day slavery, is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon involving multiple stakeholders at the institutional and commercial level.
Root causes of trafficking in MozambiqueMozambique is an inviting target for organized crime for many reasons: the country’s recent history that is heavily marked by armed conflicts – the liberation war (1964–1974), the civil war (1977–1992), and the ongoing political turmoil between the government and the armed groups of RENAMO; the extremes of dislocation and loss, reconstruction, and the resultant deep social scars; together with its particular geography and the AIDS pandemic.
Armed conflicts have increased the vulnerability of women and children and promoted dramatic survival strategies such as prostitution. Furthermore, such conflicts often involved the abduction of women and children into armed groups/factions. Together with the armed conflicts, the upheaval of transitional economies contributed to an environment favouring predatory criminal organizations.
While armed conflict distorts and expands conditions of suffering and insecurity and creates fertile conditions for trafficking, it is ultimately poverty, high unemployment and lack of opportunity – essentially the quest for a means of survival – that is the engine driving trafficking in humans. There is, therefore, a supply and demand equation described in terms of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors. The younger generation appears desperate for opportunity and employment, which leads many young women and men to take up false offers of employment in South Africa where they are sold into sex slavery or subjected to forced labour.
What are the purposes of human trafficking in Mozambique?According to the International Organization for Migration (2003), sexual exploitation and forced labour are the principal purpose of trafficking in Mozambique. While it is clear that many women and children are trafficked, mainly to work in forced prostitution, and others are recruited to work in the agriculture, manufacturing or service industries for little pay in appalling conditions, the distinction between the two is vague, especially in the case of girls and young women recruited to work as domestics who are also sexually abused by their employers.
Trafficking in humans for sexual exploitation and for forced labour constitutes the vast majority of incidents. However, there is an increase in the trafficking of humans for body parts (95%), or organ harvesting (5%), particularly in the northern provinces of Nampula and Niassa. There are well-organised human organ trafficking networks operating in Mozambique. This trade is both internal, but is also international, primarily to South Africa. It takes place for two distinct reasons. First, specific body parts such as genitalia, heart, eyes and skull are used by witch doctors in traditional medicine. These organs are believed to cure diseases and increase influence and wealth. Second, organ harvesting for transplantation is a very lucrative international business, predominantly a South–North system.
The victims of human trafficking in MozambiqueThe principal victims of human trafficking in Mozambique are women and girls (70%), but boys are also trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour and organ harvesting. The Southern Africa Network Against Trafficking and Abuse of Children (SANTAC), in its Concept Note, declared: “Although the precise statistics are difficult to obtain, it has been estimated that up to and above 1000 children and young women are transported from Mozambique to South Africa yearly on the pretext of a better life” (2012, p. 1). Children are forced to work in agriculture and market selling in rural areas, often with the complicity of family members. Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland to wash cars, herd livestock, and sell goods. Some subsequently become victims of forced labour. Mozambican men and boys are also subjected to forced labour on South African farms and mines, where they often work for months without pay and under coercive conditions.
The US Department of State (2015) reported: “Mozambican girls are exploited in prostitution in bars, roadside clubs, overnight stopping points, and restaurants along the southern transport corridor that links Maputo, Swaziland, and South Africa” (p. 1). The Report added that child prostitution increased in Maputo, Beira, Chimoio, and Nacala, which have extremely mobile populations and large numbers of truck drivers due to industries and foreign investments.
Women and girls are more susceptible to fall into trafficking, a supply and demand business. The main factors contributing to demand are several: the increasing demand for foreign workers for domestic and care-giving roles in South Africa and elsewhere, and lack of adequate regulatory frameworks to support that demand; the growth of the billion-dollar sex and entertainment industry, tolerated as a ‘necessary evil’; and the low risk, high profit nature of trafficking encouraged by a lack of will on the part of enforcement agencies to prosecute traffickers.
There are various factors that contribute to the supply of people to this illegal trade. Foremost is the movement and migration (both legal and irregular) from Mozambique to South Africa for trade and work. This movement is aided by the toleration of illegal activities and is facilitated by the porousness of the borders and the complicity of police/ border officials with traffickers. In the case of young girls and women, they have limited opportunities to increase their earnings in more skilled occupations due to unequal access to education, particularly in rural areas. The lack of legitimate and satisfying employment opportunities, particularly in rural communities, increases the exposure and vulnerability of women to being trafficked, since they are lured to cities with promises of employment or education.
How does trafficking happen in Mozambique?A number of relatively small-scale trafficking networks operate using minivan taxis to smuggle both migrants and women across the border. They are based at transit houses in the border region between Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa. They operate through a network of accomplices who recruit, transport, accommodate and transfer women in Johannesburg, Maputo and in the Lebombo Region. A number of times each week minivans travel from Maputo to Johannesburg and transport Mozambicans visiting relatives or looking for work. People rely on the taxis for cheap transportation as well as to assist them in undocumented border crossings.
Young women hoping to find work in South Africa or to visit relatives end up as trafficking victims. Trafficking agents persuade them to use the trafficker’s taxi when they approach the taxi stands. The victims suspect nothing on departure and they enter South Africa irregularly among their fellow passengers. Once at the transit accommodation, the victims are separated from their fellow travellers and the process of isolation, intimidation and exploitation begins. Moreover, young women entrapped into trafficking are subjected to fear and physical suffering if they fail to be compliant.
Who are the people responsible?The suppliers of human trafficking work together with the demanders and involve networks of people and institutions that can facilitate this movement. Many Mozambicans who left the country due to the military crises and economic hardships went to South Africa where they encountered unemployment and xenophobia and choose to engage in criminal activities to earn a living. Therefore, organized Mozambican networks living legally in South Africa control the greater part of the trafficking from Mozambique. Their main targets are young women working in the commercial sex industry in Maputo and young children, aged three to twelve years old, from rural areas in the provinces of Gaza, Inhambane, Maputo, and Nampula.
The children are sent to Mozambican families living in South Africa, as well as to South African citizens, and to prostitution networks in Johannesburg. Poverty is the principle driving force behind this trade, propelling marginalized people into the hands of traffickers who belong to both small-scale local enterprises with extensive criminal networks and to large-scale multi-commodity businesses.
Parallel to the local networks are also transnational organized criminal syndicates and networks, particularly among the SADC member states, that are responsible for the bulk of human trafficking. This trafficking is linked to a range of others, such as drugs, firearms and consumables, as well as other criminal activities, mainly money laundering, smuggling and political bribery and corruption.
The US Department of State in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report declared: “Mozambican or South African trafficking networks are typically informal; larger Chinese and Nigerian trafficking syndicates are reportedly also active in Mozambique. South Asian people smugglers who move undocumented South Asian migrants throughout Africa reportedly transport trafficking victims through Mozambique” (2015, p. 1). Recent reports indicate that illegal Bangladeshi and Pakistani migrants are also involved in human trafficking.
Where do they take the trafficked people?Mozambique is a source, transit and, to a minor extent, a destination country, for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labour and forced prostitution. In addition to Maputo and the southern provinces of Mozambique, Nampula Province is another main site of recruitment of young women for the sex industry. The principal destination for trafficked Mozambicans is South Africa, the regional powerhouse, and Swaziland. Mozambique is also reported to be a transit country for trafficked people from elsewhere, like Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Great Lakes. Women and girls from neighbouring countries (such as Zimbabwe and Malawi) voluntarily migrate to Mozambique and subsequently endure sex trafficking or domestic servitude.
The scale of growth of the traffic in human beings from Africa to Europe, mainly Italy and Portugal, and to the Middle East, suggests that Mozambicans, as with many other African nationalities, may already be feeding this transnational business of trafficking children and women. This trend is alarming and resulting in grave violations of human rights.
What is Mozambique doing to stop it?Following the 4th World Conference on Women (1995) and the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (1996), Mozambican civil society organizations and government institutions established a programme to respond to recommendations of the meetings aimed at fighting commercial exploitation of children. As a result, a National Campaign against the Sexual Abuse of Children (NCACA) was formally launched in the border area of Ressano Garcia near South Africa in 2000.
Mozambique also participated in the Terres des Hommes International Campaign against child trafficking launched in 2001. Following these events, a number of programmes were established in different areas such as awareness-building, protection, social reintegration, and rehabilitation. The launch of the Southern Africa Network against Trafficking and Abuse of Children (SANTAC) Regional Campaign against Child Sexual Abuse and Trafficking, took place in Mozambique in 2002. This network is composed of Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Malawi.
In spite of international conventions, however, there remains indifference and a lack of national commitments to protect through legislation those most at risk. Most importantly, there is lack of political will to enforce human rights covenants, to spread awareness and information, and to train the authorities responsible to provide protection.
The Government of Mozambique does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but it has been making significant efforts to do so. In September 2008, the Government enacted a new comprehensive human trafficking law. The law on preventing and combating the trafficking of people prohibits recruiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person for purposes of prostitution, forced labour, slavery, or involuntary debt servitude. In 2014, the Government enacted a new penal code, which includes prohibitions on involuntary commercial sexual exploitation and forced work of men and women.
Among other actions, the Government, in partnership with international organizations, has offered anti-trafficking courses at the police training centre for all newly recruited police officers, border guards, customs and immigration agents, and rapid intervention (riot) police; compiled data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts; continued its strong cooperation with South African officials, particularly at Ressano Garcia border post; and sponsored the establishment of coordinating bodies, known as ‘reference groups’. The Government has also increased prevention efforts, placing billboards in high-visibility locations, distributing posters, and training local officials about legal remedies provided under the anti-trafficking law. In addition, a national action plan to combat human trafficking exists as a subsection of the government’s current five-year anti-crime plan.
In 2011, the Institute for Judicial Support, a government body that provides legal advice to the impoverished, began to offer legal assistance to abused women and children, including an unknown number oftrafficking victims.
Despite enactment of a victim protection law and development of a referral mechanism for victims of all crimes in 2012, the Government has maintained limited efforts to protect victims of trafficking. It has also demonstrated limited ability to provide victim services or track the number of victims identified, referred and assisted, as well as to provide reintegration assistance to repatriated trafficking victims.
Government officials continue to rely on NGOs to provide shelter, counselling, food, and rehabilitation to victims. An NGO has managed the country’s only permanent shelter for child trafficking victims. The Centre operates on land donated by the Moamba District Government while the Ministry for Women and Social Action funds the salaries of the staff.
Since 2007, the Scalabrinian Sisters have run a project of welcoming repatriated people and victims of human trafficking that is located in Ressano Garcia. It is a transit shelter where people are assisted with immediate necessities. This Centre collaborates with the Centre for Victims of Human Trafficking located in Moamba, 30 km distant, where the victims need a more personalized and prolonged assistance. It also collaborates with the Episcopal Conference Office of Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons (CEMIRDE).
SANTAC and the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) adopted a strategic social partnership 2010–2014. Called Mainstreaming Violence, Exploitation and Human Trafficking, it works to raise awareness and to banish this evil in SADC countries. One of the events that followed from this was a conference that took place in Maputo in 2012 on the theme: Empowering Church Leaders for Action in Southern Africa, 2012–2014. The aim was to stimulate sustainable and proactive action in order to combat human trafficking locally. By enhancing religious leadership, it seeks to empower communities and to promote healthy behaviour that will protect women and children. According to the promoters (SANTAC, 2012), “spreading information and educating people is the best way to keep them safe from predators that are driven by greed. It is time to take action and the first step is toempower those with influence to effect that change” (p. 2).
Despite the efforts, human trafficking remains a critical problem in Mozambique. It is difficult to combat due to its complexity, the ambivalence of decision-makers and a lack of resources to ensure adequate legislation and to permit vigorous strategic interventions. A strong application of the law and caring for the humanitarian and social dimensions are two different approaches but they can and must go together to tackle this scourge.
Dametto, V. (2008). Missionariedade Scalabriniana Feminina e o compromisso contra o tráfico de pessoas. Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana, 31, 486-494. Retrieved on 21 November, 2015,from <http://www.csem.org.br/remhu/index.php/remhu/article/viewFile/131/123>.International Organization for Migration (2003). Seduction, sale and slavery trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in South Africa. Retrieved on 25 November, 2015, from <http://www.unhcr.org/4d523c689.pdf>.Pope Francis. (2013). Address of Holy Father Francis to participants in the plenary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Retrieved on 21 November, 2015, from <http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2013/may/documents/papa-francesco_20130524_migranti-itineranti.html>.SANTAC. (2012). Concept Note. Retrieved on 21 November, 2015, from <http://www.santac.org/index.php/eng/Media/Files/Concept-Note-14>.UNESCO. (2006). Human trafficking in Mozambique: Root causes and recommendations. Retrieved on 21 November, 2015, from <http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001478/147846e.pdf>.US Department of State. (2015). Mozambique 2015 trafficking in persons Report. Retrieved on 25 November, 2015, from <http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2015/243498.htm>.
Human Trafficking on the Lower Coast of Kenya:
Trends and ImpactPaul Onyango Adhoch
The United Nations defines human trafficking or trafficking in persons as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threats, use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, deception; of the abuse of power or of position of vulnerability or of giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person, having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation; exploitation includes prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and removal of organs.”
At Trace Kenya we consider human trafficking as “the worst form of human experience meted by fellow humans to another”. It denies human dignity to other human beings, hence our tag line, ‘restoring dignity’. Since we work mainly in rural areas of the coast region or among urban poor, we simply define human trafficking with communities as “the trade of children, young persons and adults for purposes of exploitation”. When children are trafficked, the term used is ‘child trafficking’. In cases of child trafficking, the MEANS with which the child is persuaded to become a victim is not considered. It is only the action and the consequences – procurementfor purposes of exploitation that counts. Though statistics are unavailable nationally, globally it is estimated that 20.9 million to 35 million people are enslaved (ILO 2012 Global Slavery Index). The US State Department produces an annual index on human trafficking and grades countries in tiers. In the latest report, Kenya was placed in Tier 2,1 with a global 29 million persons reported as facing human trafficking.
The situation at the lower coast of KenyaKenya as a whole is a destination, a source and a conduit for trafficking in persons. The lower coast of Kenya, which comprises lower Kilifi County and Mombasa and Kwale counties, is also a source, destination and conduit for trafficking in persons. These three areas around the resort towns of Mtwapa, Diani/Ukunda and Mombasa City are particularly attractive to child trafficking for sexual exploitation, which forms the bulk of trafficking experiences in the region. Programmatic experiences indicate at least 60% of child trafficked cases falling in this category take place in the aforementioned geographical areas.
Historical contextThe Kenya coast has had historical ties with the Middle East, Far East and the Indian Ocean rim for centuries. Most of these ties were trade related but there were long periods of slavery, whose impact can still be discerned by inequalities very well defined in land tenure and ownership to this very day. There are also emotional and psychological effects such as the subtle and often quick acceptance of ‘one’s space in life’ attributed to ‘the nature of things’ and ‘God’s will’.
Ironically, the slave trade routes form the modern route for trafficking in persons. The most visible being the East African coast to the Arab Peninsula, which is used for domestic labour and forced work that draws young women in inordinate numbers. Less visible is the trafficking of boy children through Shimoni Port to the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and the Comoros where they work in agricultural fields and in the fishing industry.
Geographical contextThe lower coast borders international waters to the East, Tanzania to the West and the rest of the Kenyan hinterland to the North and West. The cone shaped triangular region faces porous borders and is a world destination for tourism, which by itself lures individuals for work and leisure. With access to other parts of the world, a large port and numerous migrant populations, the region, with the vortex at Mombasa, attracts unaccompanied children from as far off as Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Somalia and neighbouring Tanzania
Socio-economic contextSixty-five percent of households in the region live in poverty and suffer from urban inequality. This makes a large swathe of population easily vulnerable to organized criminal activities. As a result, drugs, contractual sex and the resultant unstable families, and acceptance of child sex tourism are regarded as normal and acceptable. Added to these complex social problems are the recent jihadist activities in neighbouring Somalia that have attracted disenfranchised and marginalized youth into trafficking for armed conflict and violent extremism.
Forms of human traffickingThe commonest forms of trafficking in persons are: a) child sexual exploitation; b) child labour, including the worst forms of child labour; c) street begging – a phenomena increasingly being reported across Kenya, targeting persons with disabilities; d) child trafficking for domestic servitude; e) international border smuggling of persons, who then become easily vulnerable to human traffickers; f) forced marriages or marriages of convenience; g) recruitment into conflicts especially with Al-Shabaab; h) mixed migration drawn from the perception that ‘the grass is greener out there’.
Victims of human traffickingIn lower coastal Kenya, children (both boys and girls) are the larger proportion of persons faced with human trafficking. Unaccompanied children and migrant children are most at risk including street-connected children, orphans, children living apart from their families, children living among communities of sex workers and both children and youth living near the resort towns of Mombasa, Mtwapa, and Diani. Other persons at risk are persons with disabilities, urban refugees, migrants and young persons.
Large-scale migration or smuggled persons includes Ethiopians, Eritreans, Sudanese and Somalis and nationals of Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. These form a lower category of victims of human trafficking on the lower coast who often are taken to the Middle East for domestic service.
How trafficking in persons takes placeIn the past, trafficking was carried out by abduction and coercion. In recent times, traffickers in lower coastal Kenya have adopted very subtle and near legitimate forms of recruiting victims. For children, sexual exploitation starts with a deliberate early sexual debut, upon which the mother becomes desperate to take care of her child. Such a girl is easily lured to the Middle East for forced labour or locally into the contractual sex trade and prostitution. Children from up-country are usually introduced as domestic workers and slowly initiated and trained into commercial sex work.
Street begging that targets children in the rural coast and urban informal settlements is family driven, with families travelling on religious holidays such as Islamic Ramadan and Christian Christmas to beg for alms. From Tanzania, disabled are often brought in by persons claiming assistance for the poor, only to have them beg under duress by their slave masters. Refugees and smuggled persons – usually embedded in migration – are also easy prey.
Who are the traffickers?In many instances, family members perpetrate trafficking. Children are easily forced into trafficking by negligent parents and guardians, some of whom believe that placing the children with wealthier relatives gives them a better chance in life. Friends contribute to the enslavement of older persons as do relatives, guardians and ‘lovers’. For young women and girls, Labour Agents usually prepare and facilitate their travel to the Middle East. Some of these agents recruit door-to-door, having visited schools and known who has poor grades but good health, making them easy prey for smooth talking agents who promise them jobs and education abroad.
Unscrupulous tourists, business people, transporters and owners of salons and beauty parlours are also recruiters and facilitate trafficking in persons. The UNICEF Report (2006) describes traffickers for child sex tourism as mainly Kenyans who make up 38% of the offenders. They are followed by Italians (18%), Germans (14%), and Swiss (12%). This may have changed slightly over the last three years or so, with Kenyans becoming the greatest beneficiaries of the depressed international tourism at the coast. The link between communities and foreigners are mainly beach boys, truckers and hotel workers, acting as middlemen.
Where trafficked persons are takenTrafficked victims are destined for Mombasa and Kilifi/Kwale urban centres that are the foci for internal human trafficking. Being urban, they attract both children and adults to perceived opportunities in the hospitality industries, entertainment spots as well as informal businesses. Diani, Ukunda, Mtwapa and Mombasa City are thus favourites for attracting human traffickers.
As a source, the lower coast region sends victims along the slave trade routes to Zanzibar, Pemba and the Middle East, using – again ironically – the Shimoni Port! Those trafficked to the Middle East now use direct flights from Mombasa or go via Nairobi. Others find their way to Europe.
As a conduit for human trafficking and following an international smuggling route, individuals go to Southern Africa – especially South Africa, Angola and Botswana (very few cases). Using the same route, some end up in the USA and Canada. Jihadists’ victims go north through Malindi–Lamu route or Garsen–Hola–Garissa–Daadab and into Somalia.
Government efforts to stop human traffickingThe Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act 2010, provides the legal framework for combating human trafficking in Kenya. Unfortunately, the law has remained largely unenforced. This is attributed to lack of sensitization of law enforcement agents.Other pieces of legislation adopted by Kenya include the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits minors in the sex industry. The 1956 Supplementary Convention on Slavery prohibits “delivering of a minor by parents to another person for labour or exploitation”. Article 34 of UNCRC prohibits: “a) inducement of a child to sex; b) exploitation for child prostitution; and c) exploitation in offer for pornography.” Article 35 prohibits abduction or sale for trafficking. The Children Act 2001, an adaptation of the UNCRC and Africa Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), offers wide-ranging child protection measures. The Sexual Offences Act 2006, the Penal Code and immigration laws, also seek to protect children and adults faced with trafficking in persons. Laws to protect refugees, witnesses and victims of crime have also been enacted.
No single government arm keeps records on prosecutorial cases on human trafficking. The National Referral Mechanism within the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act sets out to remedy this, although the Act has hardly been used. Recent developments have also seen the Inclusion of human trafficking in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in order to highlight it as a critical developmental obstacle.
Efforts by churches, civil society and NGOs to address the issueThe earliest mention of child domestic slavery in local literature can be traced to celebrated author Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye’s short poem entitled Freedom Song with the refrain Atieno yo. Though many could and can identify with the child domestic worker, not many consider her a modern-day slave. With her missionary background, Macgoye probably noticed this injustice and penned it to tickle the conscience of families. In the early 1980s, Sister Lear Eckermann, a German nun, initiated Solidarity with Women in Distress (SOLWODI) and later another organization, Solidarity with Girls in Distress (SOLGIDI), which became the precursors for combating human trafficking on the coast of Kenya. At about the same time, the Salvation Army and the Catholic Churches have been at the forefront of voicing concern against human trafficking.The churches and church-related Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have also been at the forefront of combating human trafficking in Kenya. Only two organizations have had no direct link to churches in fighting human trafficking at the coast. These are Trace Kenya and the Cradle – the Children’s Foundation. Terre des Hommes derives its fighting spirit from the Catholic Church as does Solidarity with Women in Distress, Solidarity with Girls in Distress and Mahali pa Usalama. In fact, Trace Kenya’s work was ignited by the works of nuns from Terre des Hommes working in Arusha, Tanzania, and has been deeply inspired by Sr Lear Eckermann and Sr Mary O’Malley.
United Nations’ Organizations and International Organizations have also played a big part in combating human trafficking in Kenya. For instance, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has worked to protect refugees from trafficking and modern-day slavery through identification and registration of bona fide refugees. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has worked on safe migration and guidelines on human trafficking. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has supported development of referral mechanisms and is in the process of developing standard operational procedures for practitioners in the counter-trafficking subsector. The International Labour Organization (ILO) fights child labour and the worst forms of child labour in the Kenyan coastal region.
International organizations such as Solidarity Center, International Rescue Committee and foreign embassies and governments have supported and continue to support local grassroots organizations and networks, community-based organizations, churches and mosques to fight violent extremism and trafficking and to offer safe migration to vulnerable populations.
TrendsUNICEF first mentioned human trafficking in a 2001 report titled Analysis of the Situation of Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region. The findings of this study acknowledged the dearth of data, hence the difficulty in programme interventions. In 2002, ANPPCAN for ILO/IPEC reported the presence of child labour on the coast of Kenya and initiated pilot projects in Kwale. The first report on sex tourism on the lower coast of Kenya was in Norway at a child protection workshop. There, the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Tourism and Information, for the first time ever admitted that child sexual exploitation in the tourism sector (CSET) was in existence and noted that it was increasing.
In 2005, Ramona Wong-Grundwald reported in her paper titled Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism: A Perception Analysis in Kenya (Munich University of Trier: July 2005) the need to enact a code of conduct for players in the tourism industry. This report was considered anti-tourism by the Government of Kenya. It was at this time that Trace Kenya was inaugurated and mention of human trafficking was not welcomed by government officials who said it was going to discourage tourism.
In 2006, UNICEF, ECPAT and the Government of Kenya undertook a study on the Extent and Effect of Sex Tourism and the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Kenyan Coast (2006). In the same year, the Government enacted the Sexual Offences Act to fight the then rising cases of rape and defilement.
With support from Mensen met een Missie, KARDS, a Koinonia Community organization, undertook a general mapping of organizations and documented the extent of trafficking in the region. In a publication titled Trafficking of Women and Children in East Africa, KARDS, for the first time, liberally used the term ‘trafficking’ to describe the horrendous child abuse and trafficking of women that they had documented in Kenya and Tanzania. Subsequently, Consolation East Africa undertook aggressive grassroots awareness campaigns in the region,
By the year 2010, more organizations joined efforts to counter trafficking in persons in a network known as Grassroots Organizations Countering Human Trafficking in Kenya. Among the members in the lower coastal parts of Kenya are Trace Kenya, SOLWODI, SOLGIDI, and AMURT. The enactment of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act 2010 saw an increased activity with interest reaching out to the Cradle, ILO and SCOPE. Since 2013, with support from Mensen met een Missie, Trace Kenya, Awareness against Human Trafficking (HAART) and SOLWODI, started a more comprehensive and sustained work on counter trafficking in the coastal region and Nairobi, culminating in a documentation of the extent of the scourge. Titled Human Trafficking, Forms and Nature in Kenya, it was published in 2014 under the auspices of the Kenya Peace Network. All studies recognized poverty, poor legal instruments, and the tight balance between government action and tourism as part of the problem.
In the last three years, there has been a more national approach to the scourge through national networks supported by UNODC, IOM, IRC, US State Department, European Union, and Terre Des Hommes. Notwithstanding these efforts, reported cases of trafficking in persons are on the increase. Kenya has been placed at Tier 2, and recently just downgraded to Tier 2 watch list before going back to Tier 2. Newer cases of trafficking for begging, forced labour, and sexual exploitation are now more commonly reported by communities and the media than ever before.
ImpactThe long-term impact of trafficking in persons cannot be assessed at this moment in time but certain manifestations of the problem are already visible. The UNICEF report on the Extent and Effect of Sex Tourism and the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Kenyan Coast (2006), for example, considers child sex tourism as putting the Kenyan child at “profound risk” and states that though the activity may occur in the coastal region, it affects children from as far inland as eastern, central and western Kenya. It describes this as a national phenomenon. This is still the case; and indeed with a depressed economy, children in the coastal region are now preyed on by new players such as boda boda (motorcycle taxis), light transporters and truckers. Other predators include Tanzanian business-persons preying on beggars, and Kenyan holiday-makers focusing on children, using modern technology like mobile phones and the internet.
Coastal communities have never really reaped the rich resources at the coast. These include huge deposits of minerals, water resources such as fish and ports, land, and other means of livelihood. The only connection with these resources is transactional sex and exploitative labour, attributed to lack of employment of the youth who, suffering a vicious cycle of poverty, are largely poorly educated. This has meant that they are deeply vulnerable to challenges posed by human trafficking. The impact is a deep-seated sense of marginalization as ports, tourism and mining do not benefit the local community and hence the push factor into violent extremism. This has seen the region’s children and youth inordinately falling into the hands of banned gangs and jihadist movements.
Since transactional sex has been normalized, in cases where “turning bodies of children, youth and women into saleable commodities” has become the common practice, related businesses such as pimping, prostitution, and the invariable negative impact on formal education has been evident. Communities are becoming immune to the immoral nature of human trafficking abuses. A UNICEF report (2006) indicates that 76% of informants had experienced personal exposure to human trafficking but considered it normal. KPN study (2014) indicates that at least 60% had learnt from the media about human trafficking.
Experience of TRACEWorking in Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Tana River and Taita Taveta over the last ten years, Trace Kenya has noted that human trafficking manifests itself in many ways and forms such as domestic servitude in Kenya; forced domestic servitude in the Middle East; forced marriage/ deceit, marriage of convenience/arranged marriage; commercial sexual exploitation of children; pornography; forced work in agriculture, mining, cattle raising, and street begging. In order to eliminate the scourge, the classical approaches of prevention, prosecution, promotion (advocacy), provision of direct assistance, and networks and partnership form the most cogent strategy.
Indeed, the Palermo Protocol set minimum standards to be achieved by state parties including criminalizing human trafficking; investigating, prosecuting and convicting traffickers; undertaking border control; providing assistance and protecting victims of trafficking; training law enforcement and border officers; informing, and educating potential victims of human trafficking; and cooperation with various departments as well as with civil society organizations.It will take the concentrated efforts of all parties to eliminate this scourge from coastal Kenya.Welcome! Be at Home: Malindi, KenyaSr Maggi Kennedy
A paradise lostMalindi is a small but growing coastal town of less than a quarter of a million people that is located 120 kilometres north of Mombasa on the East Coast of Kenya. It is a rapidly growing area because of the salt flats that employ many people. There is also an expanding Chinese population that is involved in the construction of a new port in Lamu to the north of Malindi. Lamu, a gem of a town, is one of the few remaining complete Swahili towns and has been chosen as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Old and new, therefore, will live together.
Malindi is very cosmopolitan with a large Italian community as well as many other nationalities and ethnic groups. It is a place which is settled - a microcosm of the world. Its history is unique and its international population is at home here.
Vasco da Gama and Francis Xavier passed by on their way to India. There were clashes often between the Portuguese and the Muslim community. Fort Jesus, an impressive stone fortress, was built by the Portuguese in Mombasa in 1596 and has been called a place of death. Its whole ambience is very different from the rest of Kenya because of the relationship with the British and various Sultanates.
Malindi faces many challenges and there is need for research into some of the problems to know more fully what is going on in the area. The great worry presently is internal security due to attacks by armed extremists such as Al-Shabaab, which originates in Somalia. Many people have died in the last few years and we are fearful that there will be more attacks in the future. This violent movement also affects human trafficking.Malindi as a source for trafficking and forced labourMalindi displays the best and the worst of humanity with poverty and corruption at all levels. Unemployment has made the problems worse but this is not the whole story. Tourism has been a thriving industry as holiday-makers come from Europe to relax and enjoy the sun and the beautiful beaches. Tourists are usually pleasant and polite and are welcomed by the local people. Money from tourism has been good but if the number of tourists declines because of the security situation there will be a problem.
Other expatriates have been here for years and are integrated into the local scene but there is a darker side to the story that is a cause of great concern. It includes drugs and human trafficking. Malindi has been called the worst place in Africa for trafficking, as well as for forced labour, with all their attendant evils. The local police have made some improvements in going after the traffickers but many have drifted back into their old ways of closing their eyes to the problem or collaborating with the traffickers. The rest of the judiciary are doing what they can within limitations. Mechanisms are present but rarely has there been evidence that they work. In spite of the prevalence of the problem, there has been only one court case and that dissolved.
Sex is cheap and the rewards substantial. Parents often drive their children into prostitution, believing there is no other option. It has become both amoral and endemic. The elderly muzungu (white person) looks for pleasure and finds it in children who do not have a ‘home’. Many families in the area have two husbands/ wives and share their time with both families. Young boys like older women and even older men. It is a society where things have gone seriously wrong. This has led to rising numbers with HIV/AIDS, especially young people. The hotels have taken a hard line with prostitutes but now the villas have taken their place. Even children work in the villas for money. In August and September 2015 nearly 300 cases of sexual abuse were pending. The Manager of the Children’s Department, which handles these cases with Cradle, was overwhelmed. Sexual abuse now is very common and must be stopped.In Malindi there is a syndicate that is set up to bring young girls from the rural areas for domestic work or prostitution. Prostitution is fast becoming endemic and young girls of thirteen or fourteen can earn a great deal of money with which they can provide for themselves and their families. Parents seem to be indifferent as long as money is available.
Kenya in the front lineKenya is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking... The situation is horrendous and a silent epidemic is rising, especially in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi, which has become a real ‘hot spot’ as described above.
How are people trafficked?Trafficking happens easily and sometimes the victims are too gullible and sucked in without realizing and without questioning the offers received. We can all be blind but once hooked victims may be threatened and force may be used. All forms of coercion are used including fraud, deception and manipulation. At the initial stages, however, victims often co-operate because they are lured by false promises and are desperate for a better way of life.
Human trafficking has many faces. The exploitation or the prostitution of others is a common way, together with forced labour and services. The UN has stated that often a woman is “not treated as a human person on an equal basis with others but as an object to be exploited”. Housemaids and houseboys are also very vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse. The removal of body parts for witchcraft is common in some areas. Children and a growing number of boys are also used for child labour.
Factors found mainly in AfricaIn Africa we find the removal of body parts is a common practice, especially for use in witchcraft. Young girls are raped as a cure against HIV/AIDS or are forced to become pregnant and the resulting child is sold to the highest bidder. Some children are driven to the military to become child soldiers and are traumatised and marked for life. The list is surely not exhaustive.
Why is human trafficking such a lucrative business?The supply and demand of women, men and children is constant and the costs are very low. There is little legal framework against human trafficking in general and what exists is weak. In October 2010 Kenya enacted the Trafficking in Persons Act, which brought together a number of important Acts including the Sexual Offences Act 2006. In June 2012 it was found that the Act had not been properly enacted so the process is beginning again according to the Chief Magistrate.
Lobbying is called for but there is little direction. The challenge is how to prevent and prosecute offenders! The organizers and agencies of human trafficking are rarely targeted. They are hidden and powerful, having many international connections.
Action being takenThere are a variety of groups taking action as described below, with the churches being in the forefront:• A team has established a small network. The members all have their own jobs, which can be useful for our work together. Our vision at the moment is to look at the dignity of the human person, keeping in mind the powerfulstatement by Pope Francis that “Human trafficking is a crime against humanity”.• Elisabeth Nafula of Solwogidi (Solidarity with Women and Children in Distress) has been assisting this programme.• Sister Phaustine Wangwa Matsa has also been pioneering projects.• A Child Protection Programme that respects the rights of children is in place but will take time to implement. This is integral to the Human Trafficking Programme.• Child Rights need to be taught everywhere in Malindi.• In the area of early marriages, the Muslim Council of Clerics and some other non-Christian groups have agreed not to allow their young women to marry before they are eighteen. This is a new step forward. There are goodrelations between the Muslim community and other faiths.• Caritas is supporting 5,000 girls to try to stop early marriages.• The Behaviour Change Programme in connection with HIV/AIDS is still being used with the youth but the rate of infection has declined very little. There is a great deal of education to be done and poverty is a great challenge.There is a need for an holistic approach on this level.
Action by the Catholic ChurchMalindi falls under the Diocese of Mombasa. The total area of the diocese is 12,844 square miles with a population of approximately 207,253 (2009) of which 39,363 are Catholic (Catholic Directory of Kenya 2006).
Archbishop Martin Kivuva of Mombasa has supported a project that involves the Small Christian Communities in awareness-raising and victim support, focusing on the most vulnerable. The project includes programmes such as skills training and micro-financing that will help to raise the standard of living and provide appropriate sustainability.
Education is a key factor in the eradication of human trafficking together with victim support. The Catholic Church in Malindi sees education as a priority. In addition to primary and secondary schools, the Church has an excellent vocational school for ninety students that offers catering, housekeeping, computer studies, sewing and hairdressing classes. These courses are very marketable and can provide self-employment for the graduates.
Human trafficking has become a never-ending evil and we need Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Policies to put in place a holistic approach. We also need a collaborative approach that brings together different religious groups to work together to lift up families and restore dignity through poverty reduction, education and income-generating projects.
An experience of corporate missionThe Pope Francis Rescue Home is a corporate mission that was established to provide a shelter for those who are rescued from trafficking, prostitution and child labour. The motto of the Home that was officially opened on 21 July 2015 is “To love and to serve”. The stories of the people who come to the Home are often tales of deep suffering and trauma caused by sexual and physical abuse.
Pope Francis Home cares for people for three months, preparing them for re-entry to the world outside its safe confines. We live with the hope that those who come there can be re-integrated into families. They will also be helped with their education. In this last month (November 2015) alone 300 cases of sexual abuse have come to the Children’s Department. At present there is just Pope Francis Rescue Home to assist them. Three MSOLA (Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa) live and work at the Home. I work for Awareness against Human Trafficking and other related issues.
Our vision is “To have a society where all children live with dignity and their rights protected.” Our mission is “To offer a holistic approach to children who are vulnerable to sexual abuse, regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or gender, and to enable them to realise their full potential.”
This project is a collaborative effort between Church, government, benefactors and many people and organisations. Fr Ambrose Muli is the project chief of this initiative and Lorna Wanjau the project co-ordinator. They work with a staff of twenty-five. A retired Italian judge and his wife gave the land for this project as well as more land for a primary school, which is growing fast, together with a secondary school that is being built. Brian and Janice Soukup, benefactors from the USA, provided the actual home. The project is being supported by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the Catholic Diocese of Malindi. There are three other Centres in the area, which can assist: Tawfiq Hospital, Malindi, JUA in Watamu and the local district hospital.What can we do?Human trafficking is around us and in us … that insistent silent scream…. the voices of persons not able to defend themselves. Can we bear to hear and feel this pain? Remember that during the 80s alone, more women and children were enslaved by trafficking from Asia than all the people sold into slavery from Africa in 400 years of the slave trade.
Cardinal Lavigerie, the founder of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, was instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade, using every possible resource to eradicate slavery and to alert people to the horrendous situation. We need his human touch to relate as Jesus did… relating human being to human being as truly brothers and sisters. The Cardinal called the journalists of his day. He challenged everything and every person. If he could do that in his limited world, surely we can do something in our globalized world with its entire media network. Pope Leo XIII - a visionary concerned for human rights - had found the right man for the job he wanted. Will we be the right people for the job of ending trafficking today?
Suggestions for actionThe Catholic Church has the best possible network in the world to eradicate trafficking in persons. The focus is clear – human trafficking is the violation of human dignity, which is a God-given gift. Pope Francis has challenged us to do something. This is not just for women alone.• We are called to change our mindset … to look into our hearts and then to act.• We can challenge the whole economic order to focus on the eradication of poverty and unequal distribution of wealth, collaborating in the establishment of a new social order.• Regional Bishops’ Conferences exist and provide a vehicle for working together on common concerns.• There is need for workshops for bishops, priests, religious men and women together with the laity in order to fully understand the complexity and horrific situation that exists.• Provide Training of Trainers sessions in Dioceses in order to reach the grassroots.• The publication of a pastoral letter by the Bishops’ Conference on “Trafficking in Persons” could be an effective tool in the pastoral care programme, which could also offer renewed reflection on human sexuality and family values.• Justice and Peace Commissions at all levels need to be involved in the prevention of human trafficking, which is different from assisting migrants. Although migration can be used to hide trafficking, there is need for separate desks for human trafficking and for migration.• Small Christian Communities are a gateway to reach people in both rural and urban areas including the slums.• Victim support is critical and is not for the faint hearted. The reports are often heart-breaking and the needs are overwhelming.• Research and information are vitally important to ensure that the needs are clear and can be monitored and evaluated.• Networks are basic to the flow of information at all levels: district, national and regional. There is need for reliable and trusted co-ordinators in the Dioceses who are known by local officials and by the churches and religiousorganisations.• There is a need for support systems that would include professionals who are prepared to give their time freely to assist victims when asked.• There is a need for writers and artists and journalists to use their skill to pass the message though the media, using all forms of modern media.• There is a need for printed material, flyers and posters, as well as books for Training Trainers. These can be used in schools, hospitals, places of work, and places of worship and can be freely given.• Associations of Sisters can be mobilised to hold training sessions and to support the survivors of trafficking.• The Good Samaritan is a well-known story but have we ever thought about converting the robbers?• Let the Church declare the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, 8 February, a day of prayer for all who have been trafficked. Prayer is the touchstone of awareness of the plight of the trafficked.• A scholarship programme could be set up to assist the poor to attend vocational and agricultural schools that offer practical skills that will enable them to be self-employed.• The sacredness of the human person is a central teaching of the Church but it takes commitment and courage to take action to protect human life. Can we commit ourselves by implementing the three Rs: Rescue, Rehabilitation and Reintegration?
Yes, there is much we can do to prevent the scourge of human trafficking and to comfort and heal the survivors of this evil trade in human beings.
Hear the cries of suffering humanityLet us be encouraged by the following words of Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: In the face of this difficult task and hearing the cries of suffering humanity, we must above all not surrender to discouragement. We must remember that there is a great majority that opposes those who seek to enrich themselves by exploiting the lives of their fellow human beings. It includes men and women, citizens and leaders, people of faith and those of good will, who devote their lives every day in differing organizations and roles to the fight against the scourge of human trafficking (Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, 8 May 2012).
If from today we save one person from the horrors of trafficking it has been worthwhile. However, I believe we now have the opportunity to embark on a process to save many from this human tragedy.
Remember, human trafficking touches us all.Whether it is chocolate or diamonds or T-shirts!Let us wake up now.Look each other in the eye and say, “I will do something. I have to do something.” We need action.Childline is 119. Don’t walk away.Pray for Malindi … indeed the whole coast of Kenya.About the Editor and ContributorsSr Janice McLaughlin was a founding member of AFCAST. She recently served as President of the Maryknoll Sisters for six years and is presently assisting in the AFCAST regional office in Harare and at the Catholic University of Zimbabwe.Fr Elias Omondi Opongo, SJ, is Director of the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations in Nairobi, Kenya, and is the Regional Coordinator of AFCAST. He was convener of the AFCAST conference on Human Trafficking held in Nairobi in December 2015 that is documented by this publication.Radoslaw L. Malinowski is Director of HAART Kenya and also a part time lecturer at Tangaza University. HAART (Awareness Against Human Trafficking) is a non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking that was started in 2010. Mr Malinowski is a PhD Candidate at the Catholic University of Lublin. He graduated from the Catholic University of Lublin (MA in Theology, MA in Law) as well as from Hekima College (MA in Peace and International Relations). Currently he lives in Nairobi, is married and father of four children.Fr Peter-John Pearson is the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) of the South African Bishops Conference and a founding member and Chairperson of AFCAST.Fr Joseph Kacou Aka comes from Ivory Coast in West Africa. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1994 and has been active in youth ministry as well as in the Biblical Apostolate. He served as SecretaryAbout the Editors and Contributors General of the Francophone and Lusophone Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO) for two years. Presently he is the Secretary-General of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) basedin Abuja, Nigeria, that covers Portuguese, English and French-speaking countries. He maintains a close working relationship with AFCAST with hopes of establishing a similar organization in West Africa.Sr Anna Fontana is an Ursuline Sister who has taught at the Catholic University of Mozambique (UCM) in Beira since 2003. Apart from teaching, she was entrusted with the preparatory year, the language department and the pastoral university ministry at the Faculty of Economics and Management. She coordinates the St Augustine’s Research Centre (CISA) of UCM and deals with national and international institutions and projects. She is also a member of the Advisory Group of AFCAST.Paul Onyango Adhoch founded TRACE Kenya ten years ago and is its current Executive Director. (TRACE comes from “tracing families of missing children.”) Previously, he worked in the private sector, with government and with a children’s organization. He has a BA in Social Science from Kenyatta University and has studied Human Resources and Business Management. He is married with two children.Sr Maggi Kennedy, MSOLA, has worked in Kenya for 25 years. Since 2010 she has been involved in Malindi in “Awareness Against Human Trafficking”. Through the United Religions Initiative, she works with Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i as well as other churches to combat human trafficking and to support the survivors.AFCAST PublicationsThe Social Teachings of the Church on the EnvironmentConstitution-Making and Human DignityWomen, Violence and Conflict ResolutionVoices in the Wilderness: Prophetic Witness in the African ChurchComing Together: Muslim-Christian Dialogue on the Social TeachingsThe Church in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace:Preparing for the Second African SynodFaith and Elections in Africa: A Critical ConversationThe Church and Civil Society: Building Social Conscience for DemocraticParticipationImagining Citizenship in ZimbabweEnding Violence in ZimbabwePolitical Participation in ZimbabweCatholic Church Leadership: In Peace Building in AfricaImagining Citizenship in ZimbabweInformal Mining and Family Vulnerability in Kenya, Zambia and ZimbabweFr Afiawari AugustineChukwuyenum, SJAFCAST Legal HolderHarare, Zimbabwe
Fr Peter-John PearsonAFCAST ChairpersonCape Town, South Africa
Fr Elias Omondi Opongo, SJAFCAST Regional CoordinatorNairobi, Kenya
Mrs Getrude ChimangeAFCAST MemberMutare, Zimbabwe
Bishop Frank NubuasahAFCAST MemberFrancistown, Botswana
Bishop Method KilainiAFCAST MemberBukoba, Tanzania
Mr Tobias JereAFCAST MemberLilongwe, Malawi
Sr Anna FontanaAFCAST MemberBeira, Mozambique
Dr Emmanuel Kiiza AlibaAFCAST MemberKampala, Uganda
Fr Ferdinand LugonzoAFCAST MemberNairobi, KenyaFr Leonard Chiti, SJAFCAST MemberLusaka, Zambia
Mrs Dadirai Miriam ChikwekweteAFCAST Coordination OfficeHarare, Zimbabwe
Sr Janice McLaughlin, MMAFCAST Coordination OfficeHarare, Zimbabwe
AFCAST Working Group Members