Press Release: A2ES Event

Posted on May 27, 2016 | 0 comments


Art and music to educate at-risk residents of Nairobi’s Mathare informal settlement

  • Nine acts will perform songs with positive social messages while Nairobi artists and slum residents paint an anti-trafficking mural in the build-up to July’s Arts to End Slavery project
  • Poorest citizens most at-risk of becoming human trafficking victims
  • Human trafficking – or modern-day slavery – is the second biggest criminal enterprise in the world, affecting 21 million people each year

Thursday, May 26 – One of Nairobi’s biggest informal settlements will become a hive of artistic expression with a message this weekend.

Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART Kenya) and PAWA254 is hosting an upbeat community event in the Mathare slum of approximately 500,000 people that will use art and music to drive home the message of vigilance against human trafficking.

The event, expected to attract several hundred residents, is taking place ahead of HAART’s second annual Arts to End Slavery (A2ES) exhibition. The exhibition coincides with the UN’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, with more than 30 Nairobi artists volunteering to produce works featuring different anti-trafficking messages.

Pictures from Arts to end Slavery events in 2015.

The A2ES Project Coordinator Katariina Ainamo says it is particularly important to raise awareness against human trafficking in the country’s poor and rural areas, as these residents are most vulnerable.

“Traffickers use the promise of opportunity to recruit their victims. Those with limited economic options and less education make the most obvious and willing targets. Art reaches different audiences and brings the stories of people being trafficked to life, enabling people to have a better understanding of what the reality of trafficking is.”

Ainamo says the public bathroom wall on which the mural will be painted is along a central thoroughfare which hundreds of residents pass each day. The mural will be led by well-known Nairobi graffiti artist Smoki La.

“We are really excited that our talented artists will create a beautiful and meaningful decoration for Mathare residents.”

While there are no specific figures inside Kenya, HAART estimates thousands of men, women and children are trafficked inside and outside the country each year.  Worldwide, 21 million people are trafficked each year, according to International Labour Office figures from 2012.

Traffickers recruit victims for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour or organ trafficking. Human trafficking involves deception, movement and exploitation of victims, and common stories relate to victims who have been promised jobs in the Middle East and arrive to find themselves forced into prostitution for little or no pay. However, human trafficking is just as common within Kenya and unfortunately children are mainly the victims of internal trafficking.

Common forms of trafficking include child marriage and forcing children to work as domestic help.

The community event will take place from 12pm til 4pm on Saturday, May 28 at the Shooting Range Field next to the Police Depot. All media are welcome to attend.



For further information please call:

HAART Arts to End Slavery Project Coordinator Katariina Ainamo  – 073 9813743



HAART is Kenya’s only dedicated human-trafficking NGO, working with victims of sexual exploitation, forced labour and organ trafficking. HAART, started by a group of lawyers and humanitarians five years ago, coordinates rescues; provides workshops inside communities; liaises with government and partner organisations on matters of training and rescue; and provides counseling, employment and education opportunities for victims once they are ready for rehabilitation. HAART is currently working towards raising funds to build a shelter specifically for trafficking victims.


About PAWA254

PAWA Initiative is Kenya’s premier network of visual artists and a unique social enterprise through which innovative professionals from diverse artistic fields exploit their creative genius to foster social change. PAWA has carved a niche and garnered a reputation as a leader in creative activism/artivism”  and is host to a vibrant community of some of the most innovative of artists in Nairobi.

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