IOM Advocates for End of Communities Trafficking

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a two-year project aimed at preventing human trafficking in climate change-affected communities in Kenya.

It is expected to reduce human trafficking prevalence by addressing vulnerabilities caused by climate change-induced displacement in Garissa and Marsabit Counties from soaring to imbalance.

Kenya is facing one of the severest droughts in decades with nearly 4.2 million people currently facing severe hunger (UNOCHA, 2022). Climate change-induced disasters and other environmental hazards are decimating livestock, destroying farming land and community infrastructure, and devastating people’s livelihoods leaving millions at risk of displacement.

These events also trigger local conflicts over scarce resources and erode the communities’ ability to cope, leading to devastating impacts on entire spheres of life and posing threat to human security and to the survival, well-being, and future of vulnerable communities.

“The impact of weather-related events on economic activities has led to high levels of poverty. This has increased vulnerabilities of women and children to human trafficking, child labor, and early marriages,” said, Florence Bore, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.

“Forced migration and displacement due to climate change expose vulnerable populations, in particular women, girls, and children to TiP violations and other forms of abuses,” said Dimanche Sharon, IOM Kenya Chief of Mission.

“Victims of trafficking (VoTs) from climate change-affected locations often remain unnoticed due to lack of mechanisms to identify and respond to their needs as well as limited sensitization of communities on TiP,” said CS Bore.

To address this growing challenge, IOM Kenya received USD 2.3 million from the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to address human trafficking in Kenya brought on by vulnerabilities and displacement exacerbated by climate change. IOM will employ a variety of livelihood support models to build economic resilience in communities facing economic insecurity due to climate change.

Additionally, IOM will work to create awareness of human trafficking among specified populations. The program will pilot a range of interventions through a phased approach and refine program activities based on the outcomes of randomized interventions.

“The U.S. Government recognizes the critical link between climate change and human trafficking. We are proud to support this important project that will create a model for preventing human trafficking in communities impacted by climate change while making a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people,” said Ambassador Meg Whitman.

The project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Counter Trafficking in Person (CTiP), local NGOs/CSOs with a strong presence in targeted areas, and researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and New York University.

The event launch was attended by Hon. Florence Bore, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Joseph Motari, MBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizens Affairs, Ms. Claire Thomas, Political Officer, US Embassy in Kenya, and Mr. Emrah Guler, IOM Kenya Deputy Chief of Mission.

The two-year “Preventing Trafficking in Persons in Climate Change Affected Communities” project is funded by the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

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