Since 2006, Sr. Mary O’Malley has been involved in the ministry of Counter Human Trafficking in Kenya. This involves both directly working with victims and awareness raising through training programmes in schools, youth groups and with vulnerable populations.
Over the years her work has spread from Kenya to other countries in East Africa. At the Faraja Centre in Tanzania there is also an active programme.
Human trafficking involves the recruitment or movement of people for exploitation by the use of threat, force, fraud, or the abuse of vulnerability. Poverty is a driving factor, and people who genuinely need to better their situation in life are particularly vulnerable.
It is a crime that can occur across international borders or within a country. It often crosses multiple geographic and legal boundaries. Women from rural areas are trafficked to the cities and sold into prostitution. Men are offered lucrative employment in rural projects in another part of the country or abroad and end up exploited for their labour and in poor living conditions.
Individuals who have been trafficked are likely to experience multiple physical and mental health risks prior to, during and after their trafficking experiences. Many suffer acute and long-term health problems. This includes injuries, physical pain and illnesses, sexual health problems and mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.
High levels of sexual violence are reported among women trafficked for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, with high levels of symptoms of sexually transmitted infections reported by men and women alike.
What can we do as Medical Missionaries of Mary?
Trafficking is a process comprising various stages, starting with recruitment and followed by travel and transit, destination and exploitation.
We raise awareness which targets the recruitment stage. It helps young people identify “too good to be true” offers, even coming from family members. We also raise awareness with groups such as airlines and the hospitality sector who are unwittingly used by traffickers for transporting people.
MMM also works with victims of trafficking, providing support for individuals who have been liberated, trauma counselling and addressing the multiple needs such as income generating projects so that they do not become vulnerable again. (Read Lily’s story here)
Currently MMM is involved in this work in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and USA. You can follow the work in Kenya through the following website: HTTPS://CHTTRUST-EASTAFRICA.ORG/