Building Resistance to Human Trafficking
VMM International’s partner organisation combating human trafficking in Kenya is growing from strength to strength. Set up in 2010, in addition to pursuing prosecutions, with the assistance of VMM International volunteer and lawyer, Ignacio Lepro, HAART have taken great strides in their commendable work rescuing victims, assisting in their rehabilitation and raising public awareness to eradicate this scourge on some of the most vulnerable in society. Kenya is, and has been, a hub for human trafficking in East Africa and HAART have teamed up with Photographers Without Borders (PWB) to help push the awareness campaign to end this trade in human misery.
The Growth in Human Trafficking Trade
While staples of corruption, like illegal trading in arms and drugs, continue to blight many parts of the world a more recent, rising threat to prey upon the most marginalised and economically disadvantaged communities touched by the ever-increasing reach of globalised trade networks, consumer demand and inequality, human trafficking, has now also become a very lucrative market, for some. Women and young girls are highly targeting in this business and not only for the sex industry. Many are lured in and whisked away from education and potential into child labour or as house servants far from home, family and protection. Most are just looking for a means to escape a current financial problem or to better their future but unfortunately so many end up in a much darker place than where they started.
HAART Offers Solace and Battles to Stem the Tide of Human Trafficking
Since December 2017 HAART have moved into their own premises to secure absolute protection of their rescued charges. In addition, this has also enabled them to greatly increase the rehabilitation assistance they can offer to victims. This means more individual and group therapy sessions as well as other supportive therapies such as yoga and art classes to provide a complete, holistic approach to healing, renewal and rebirth.
The other powerful strands to HAART’s operations include the raising of awareness within the general public about issues which, being long-standing and under one’s nose, have gone largely unchallenged, often unnoticed. HAART are awakening a public vigilance of, hitherto seemingly innocuous but, potentially suspicious behaviours in their neighbours and neighbourhood, and to act upon it. When human trafficking is detected HAART move to rescue the victim and prosecute the perpetrator. A previous blog post by VMM International volunteer, Ignacio Lepro, details the further challenges this trial presents the victims.
Volunteering, Help to Change the Tide
If you would like to see first-hand the issues, people and impacts of HAART’s initiatives check out the video below by PWB. If you would like to read the experiences and insights of some of our other volunteers on their projects, visit our volunteers’ blog. If you are inspired to volunteer on similar projects like these with VMM International, tackling a range of the UN Sustainable Development Goals across many projects with many partner organisations, you can check out our short term volunteering brochure or our current long term roles.