Charity group files suit against Kenyan govt. for neglect of trafficked Asian women


The Kenyan government is being sued by a charity over failure to provide appropriate care for five trafficked women from India and Nepal who were rescued from sexual exploitation.

HAART Kenya said, making the two Indian and three Nepali women stay to testify against their traffickers had caused them psychological harm. They were rescued from a Nairobi bar in August.

“After four months, the victims just want to go home. They have become deeply traumatised and suicidal … some have been hospitalised,” said Sophie Otiende, programme consultant for HAART Kenya, which has rented a safe house for the victims.

“So we have filed a complaint against the government so that all victims of trafficking are not compelled to testify, and the government pays for their speedy and safe repatriation.”

The petition, due to be heard on Tuesday, states that Kenya’s attorney general, inspector general of police and director of public prosecutions violated an anti-trafficking law that says victims have a right to privacy and safe repatriation.

It also calls on authorities to pay expenses of more than 1.3 million Kenyan shillings ($12,830) incurred by the charity for the care of the victims, which the law says is the state’s responsibility.

The government has said it hopes to repatriate the five women, aged in their early to mid-twenties, in the coming days.

Kenyan government officials denied a lack of care and said no request for funds had been received.

“We have received requests from other charities which are being considered. If HAART approached us, we would of course consider providing funds for these victims,” said Elizabeth Mbuka, Head of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat.

Mbuka said a court order for the repatriation of the five women had now been given.

A rising number of women and girls are leaving South Asian nations such as Nepal, India and Pakistan to work in Bollywood-style dance bars in Kenya’s adult entertainment industry – many illegally – according to anti-trafficking activists and police.

There is no official data, but the results of police raids combined with figures on repatriation of rescued women suggest scores of women and underage girls are victims of organised human trafficking from South Asia to Kenya. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)