As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is excited to share the launch of our new project with International Justice Mission (IJM). The project aims to build community and survivor confidence in the criminal justice system and increase capacity of local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute child sex trafficking. The project is specifically targeted in Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa counties in the southern coastal region, a major child sex trafficking hotspot.
Sex trafficking is a key focus of the Fund’s efforts. Working within our intervention framework, we target reduction in supply of vulnerable individuals, demand for sexual exploitation, and the enabling environment that allows modern slavery to persist and traffickers to operate with impunity. This project specifically targets the supply of vulnerable individuals and the enabling environment.
On the supply side, the project will conduct community engagement efforts that aim to increase the reporting of instances of child sex trafficking. The project will provide education and outreach to community members, teachers, and the Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya on the available referral mechanisms for instances of exploitation, with the goal of increasing trust and collaboration between community members and the justice system.
See more of our work combatting sex trafficking.
To reduce vulnerability, it is also important to improve coordination between actors in the justice delivery process, and ultimately ensure this improved coordination results in improved prosecutions. In support of this, the project will work with civil society, the Department of Child Services (DCS), and police to help assess and diagnose barriers related to access and use of the existing hotline and the national referral mechanism (NRM) and identify solutions at the community level.
In addition, working through Court User Committees and DCS Child Protection Centers, the project will collaborate with government and civil society stakeholders to develop new victim-centered standard operating procedures for victim case management and coordination. Training, mentorship, and technical assistance on trauma-informed care and interdisciplinary case management will also be provided to civil society and government service providers. These efforts will decrease the risk of re-traumatization during prosecution and put the survivors at the center of their own cases.
To address the enabling environment, the project includes activities that work toward increasing victim-sensitive investigations and prosecutions (with survivor participation) to deter traffickers in the future. Accordingly, the project will train, mentor, and provide technical assistance to police, prosecutors, and magistrates on trauma-informed prosecution practices. In working with police, we will also build police officer capacity to effectively arrest perpetrators of child sex trafficking and seek justice for victims. Training and collaboration with prosecutors and magistrates will also focus on increasing the effectiveness of prosecutions and adjudications through increased understanding of sex trafficking crimes and application of existing legal frameworks.
GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
This article and the IJM project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.