VMM has been a partner with HAART since 2012.
HAART was founded in 2010 by a passionate group of lawyers, missionaries and humanitarians. These people from multiple nationalities sought to bring peace and awareness to Kenya to end the criminal activities of human traffickers. Since then, HAART has worked to prevent human trafficking through a multi-disciplinary approach.
Kenya is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Although human trafficking is rampant in Kenya, there is an alarming lack of awareness and resistance to the tactics of human traffickers. They prey on the desperation of Kenyans, especially young women and children, by offering lucrative jobs and opportunities. HAART engages in activities geared towards the eradication of trafficking in persons in Kenya.
Simply put, human trafficking is modern slavery. Victims are deceived, coerced, and blackmailed into situations where their traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of their victims. Once victims find themselves in a trafficking situation, their identification documents such as passports are often confiscated especially if they have traveled abroad as then it becomes difficult for the victims to return to their country of origin. They may also be under the influence of drugs and they are closely monitored to prevent them from escaping.
Human trafficking is sometimes confused with smuggling, which is based on movement. The exploitation-based industry of human trafficking may involve international movement, but it can also occur at a local level within cities and countries. Also, the term “human trafficking” is often used synonymously with “sex trafficking.” While sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking at 79%, it is only a subset of the great human trafficking industry that also includes exploitation of labor and harvesting of organs.
As the fastest growing criminal industry, human trafficking is present in most countries; resulting in an estimated 29 million victims worldwide. A conservative estimate puts the number of victims at any one time to 2.5 million. The industry thrives in low-risk areas where the community is unaware of the issue, government and community institutions are not properly trained to respond, local laws are ineffective in addressing the crime, safety nets for victims do not exist, and law enforcement does not investigate or prosecute the criminals. Within these areas of susceptibility, particularly vulnerable groups include undocumented migrants, runaway and homeless youth, and oppressed, marginalized and/or impoverished individuals. One of the most common tactics used by human traffickers is to play on the desperate situation of individuals looking for a job and can be easily convinced with lucrative-sounding offers of employment.
Overall, the human trafficking industry involves victims of all ages, genders, and races. But it is generally the most vulnerable such as children and women from impoverished areas that are the main targets.