There are an estimated 328,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Kenya (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are subjected to exploitation amounting to modern slavery in forced labour and sex trafficking. Children are often subjected to forced labour in domestic service, agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending and begging. They are also victims of commercial sexual exploitation throughout the country, in khat cultivation areas, near gold mines and along the highway and Lake Victoria. Moreover, those residing in Kenya's largest refugee camp Dadaab are often vulnerable. Men and women are often lured by employment agencies offering attractive job opportunities, then find themselves trapped in domestic servitude, massage parlors and brothels or forced manual labour.
Almasie was looking for work when she was offered a job as a cleaner in another town. However, upon passing the interview, Almaise was taken to another room and forced to provide sexual services to men. Almaise was there for six months before she was able to escape and found support from HAART.
My past has shaped me but it does not define men. This is my story.
I have three children, a boy and two girls. I live in one of the slums in Nairobi. Before I did not know what happened but I was deeply hurt by what happened. I met a pastor who talked about trafficking. He explained about internal trafficking and external trafficking. It was then that I discovered that what had happened to me was traffick.
It was in 2009 that I had just had a baby. Now I had three children. A boy and two beautiful girls. It was this time that I really had problems feeding my children, educating them, as I was a single parent. I told my long-time friend that I really wanted a job a well-paid job. Yes I had a job before, I was a cleaner. I used to go to people’s houses, clean their house. Wash their clothes, wash their dishes and get some little pay, but it was not enough. So my long-time friend agreed that she would help me. That’s why I went to look for work that day with my friend.
Well we travelled and we reached [where we were going] at night. It was very dark, I could not say exactly where. We just found ourselves in front of a big house and an interview was done to me. I passed the interview as I was a cleaner I knew my work very well. So the lady, my longtime friend left me there because I had passed the interview, and she said she’ll be back later.
I was taken to another room where I met other girls. Most of the girls were very young. Some even looked like they could be my daughters. I never understood what was taking place. Men were coming in, mostly white men and Arabs. They could come in anytime, they could pick anybody they want, they used you. You had to do whatever they told you to do, you had no choice. I thought about my children. I prayed day in day out that one day I’ll leave this place.
I stayed in this house for six months. I cannot tell anybody. I cannot tell my relatives. I cannot tell my children. That all I wanted to look for was money. Money to make my children’s future. But all I have now is HIV.
It is in Nairobi where I met a pastor and I was informed about HAART. They have been like a family to me. I just wanted to share my story so that whoever is watching or is listening may never undergo what I underwent and if anyone has ever undergone such, there is HAART for you. You are not alone. HAART is there for you. HAART will listen to you. They will console you. And you will live life. Thank you HAART.
Narrative provided by HAART Kenya