A local Kenyan NGO, The Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART), has been engaging communities in a week-long series of activities, gearing up to mark The World Day Against Trafficking on July 30th.

The activities are part of the NGO's ongoing efforts to create an awareness of human trafficking.

On July 23, 2022, HAART held flash mob performances with 35 dancers at three locations, starting in Kibera, before moving to the HUB Mall in Karen, and finally at the Village Market Mall.

All week until July 31, 0222, HAART will hold an Art Exhibition at Karen Village mural artwork to draw attention to human trafficking; a widespread human rights atrocity.

In the previous week, HAART screened a Human Trafficking (HT) documentary film dubbed Maid in Hell at Mathare Valley Social Hall.

The film highlights the plight of migrant workers, including harassment, abuse, rape and 18-hour workdays without a break, which are some of the inhumane treatment that many migrant domestic workers across the Middle East face.

In addition, they are often bound to their employer under a system known as Kafala where they get trapped through their passports being confiscated, leaving them at the mercy of their employers. 

The documentary film, which was first released in 2018 features the true story of 35-year-old Mary Kibwana, a Kenyan who was working as a domestic worker in Jordan in the Middle East.

Following an incident at her employer’s residence, Mary was flown back to her home in Kenya – where she arrived wheelchair bound, with burns covering 70 per cent of her body.

Two months later, she died as a result of her injuries.

Mary’s story is that of many women from developing countries in Africa and Asia who return from the Middle East with similar horrifying stories.

Ending human trafficking will take collaborative efforts.

HAART Programs Manager Winnie Mutevu said that society needs to act if human trafficking is to be stopped.

"If we as a society want to end human trafficking, we need everyone to act. There are many things you can do," Mutevu said. 

"As an employer, journalist, family member, colleague or neighbour, you have the power to act against human trafficking." 

She noted the opportunities employers have given to vulnerable youth or survivors of trafficking can be life-changing.

"Employers have given job opportunities to vulnerable youth or employed survivors of trafficking after their TVET graduation. Those decisions can be life-changing," she points out.

The climax of the week’s activities will be a full-day event to be held on Saturday 30th July 2022 in Kakamega that will include other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and interactions with the local community on human trafficking, a Panel Discussion, Local performances, Live streaming and live tweeting the event to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.