Using A Multi-Agency Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Isiolo County

Nairobi - The Kenya National Plan of Action 2013-2017 emphasizes that in a rapidly changing global environment and social systems, protection and care of vulnerable groups, especially women and children, is key in addressing issues of human trafficking. The issue of Trafficking in Persons (TiP) has gathered momentum and several international organizations have developed approaches to address human trafficking, yet it remains a serious transnational crime, with grave human rights violations, and have been largely overlooked by many governmental and non-governmental actors.

The identification of cases of trafficking in persons is hampered by definitional difficulties, a lack of knowledge and the existence of grey areas between trafficking and other forms of exploitation (Addressing Human trafficking and exploitation in times of crisis, IOM 2015)

In this light, IOM, in the framework of the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme and in cooperation with the government of Kenya facilitated a two-day workshop on 12-13 March 2019 to address issues of human trafficking in Isiolo County. The workshop was attended by 28 participants (18 male and 10 female) from the Judiciary, Department of Immigration, Children Department, and the Kenya Police.

The workshop sought to enhance stakeholders’ understanding on: the identification of victims of trafficking, the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act, the National Plan of Action on assisting victims of trafficking and the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for assisting victims of trafficking in persons.

Isiolo is in what was Kenya’s Eastern Province before the devolution of the eight administrative Provinces into 47 Counties.Isiolo borders Marsabit County to the north, Wajir County to the east, Garissa and Tana River Counties to the south east, Meru County to the south Laikipia County to the south west and Samburu County to the West.

Isiolo is also a gateway for Eritreans and Ethiopians heading to South Africa, resulting in cases of trafficking and smuggled migrants between the two countries.

Mr. Julius Marwa, Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Isiolo said “The county is a source, transit and destination for victims of trafficking. The most prevalent forms of trafficking are forced marriages, prostitution, child labor and child sex trade”. All the stakeholders are working towards reducing and mitigating trafficking in persons in Isiolo County. He added.

The participants noted that cases of children disappearing without a trace are on the increase. Through BMM, IOM has so far supported the capacity building of 105 government officials and stakeholders on NRM for assisting victims of trafficking in four counties- Turkana, Kakamega, Uasin-Gishu and Bomet.

IOM continues to support the work of the government of Kenya in countering human trafficking, as well as strengthening government agencies and operationalizing the NRM in other counties.

IOM has provided technical support to run safe houses, reviewed the NPA 2013-2017, and assessed the human trafficking situation in the coastal region.

The Better Migration Management (BMM), a regional, multi-year and multi-partner programme funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). IOM is one of the main implementing partners alongside UNODC, Expertise France, Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL, GIZ and the British Council. Apart from Kenya, BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and South Sudan.