Human Trafficking scenario #1

Mary’s story

Mary, 20 years old, lives in Kitale. She lives with her mother and three younger sisters after her father passed away. She is a waitress and the main income earner at home, but cannot earn enough for rent, food and school fees for her sisters. She decides to move to Nairobi to work with the intention of sending money home to her mother. She saves up for the journey and seven night’s accommodation at a girls’ hostel. Each day she looks at the job vacancies notices at Odeon, on the corner of Tom Mboya Street and Latema Road in central Nairobi. On the third day, a woman called Eunice approaches her and says she has seen her each day from across the road where she works. Mary tells Eunice she needs work and accommodation. Eunice says she has a spare room and knows someone at an accounting firm. Mary is interested, goes to live with Eunice, and an interview is arranged for the following week. Mary starts to make friends with Eunice and feels welcome in her flat. As their relationship grows Mary tells Eunice more about herself, including where she is from and about her mother and sisters. On the day of the interview, Mary wears her best clothes and arrives at the accounting firm office in town nice and early. Eunice told Mary the interview location is being rented for interviews, and won’t look like a proper office. Mary waits in the lobby at the building, and is then invited into a ground floor office at the rear of the building by a woman for the interview. The job is explained but Mary, aware of contracts, workers rights and taxation, starts asking about salary, working hours and tax rates. At this point the interviewer becomes disinterested and two men enter the room. They grab Mary and put her in a van with no windows in the adjacent alley. She is driven to a house somewhere in Nairobi, stripped of her clothes, phone and belongings, and told by the men that “you work for us now.” She is beaten for resisting and confined to a room in the house. Mary is then forced to work as a prostitute in the house and is not allowed to leave or contact anyone she knows. She is told that if she ever tries to escape or talks to anyone about being in the house, including the men she services, her sisters will also be brought to the house. Mary never saw Eunice again.

1. Was Mary lured into this situation and deceived? – Yes.
2. Did Mary agree to do what she is being forced to do? – No.
3. Is Mary free to leave the work site and talk to family and friends? – No.
4. Is Mary physically, sexually or psychologically abused? – Yes, all three.
5. Does Mary have valid identification and is she in possession of such documents? – No.
6. Is Mary paid and are there any conditions of employment? – No.
7. Does Mary fear that something bad will happen to her, or to a family member, if she leaves the job? – Yes.
8. Has Mary been trafficked? – Yes.