Updated: Aug 30, 2021
This is in reference to the comments made by Jimmy Gait on the 13th of August on the Hangout show hosted by Mung’ala Mbuvi on K24 TV.
In his statement he stated that most of the people are mistreated because;
”Most of the victims are very indisciplined.”
“They steal/rob from their employers”
“They elope from their jobs in search of greener pastures.”
Immorality- “have you ever seen a Kenyan man who came out that they were mistreated? The reason you don't get to hear about this is because they do not go sleeping with their bosses wives. They don't have access to them but the ladies do. Most Kenyans start doing immoral things when they go there leading to them being mistreated and in such cases someone has to pay for the consequences of their actions.”
As survivor leaders of Azadi Kenya, an organisation that works towards empowering survivors of human trafficking. We are survivor leaders of human trafficking who are members of Azadi Kenya write to respond to the statements made on K24 TV.
We acknowledge that high unemployment rates and inequality in Kenya are key drivers for seeking employment in the Middle East and agencies such as the one managed by Mr. James Ngatia Ngigi aka Jimmy Gait provides much needed employment opportunities for Kenyans seeking to earn a living abroad. However, we also acknowledge that some of the people who go through the same system are not lucky enough. We use the term lucky because the system does not guarantee the safety of migrant workers like us who end up becoming victims of trafficking. Furthermore, considering that Mr. Ngatia runs an employment agency, it is very disheartening to hear the remarks he made when referring to the experiences of women who have suffered exploitation and abuse under the same system, for instance long working hours, unpaid wages and physical and sexual abuse. Given his own stake in the business which he is condoning, it reads as if he is in solidarity with traffickers. His remarks on women being lazy, immoral and promiscuous are not only unkind to the women who suffered abuse in those homes but blatantly ignores the gender dynamics that differentiates the experience of both female and male migrant workers in the Middle East. Whilst women are expected to live with their employers, their male counterparts live in hostels. Because of this, the system has the ability to identify how women are abused and not how men are abused. In this regard, we demand that James Ngatia Ngigi issues an apology to all victims of trafficking and withdraws his statement as it was insensitive and misleading and that he commits to a survivor-informed review of his agency’s policies and practices.
To Mediamax Network (K24 TV), the media has the responsibility to not only educate but also provide informative information. K24 TV however, did none of those. It was instead a misrepresentation of survivors of human trafficking and forced labour. We would like to reference the programming code of the Communications Authority Section 4.1 that requires that factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience and 126.96.36.199 that requires that broadcasters should try to reduce the potential distress to victims and/or relatives when making or broadcasting programmes intended to examine past events that involve trauma to individuals (including crime). Mr. Ngatia’s comments and the station’s management of his comments breached both of those and were tantamount to victim blaming. We demand that the station submit an apology to female migrant workers and survivors of trafficking and ensure the ethical engagement of survivors in future stories.
To the National Employment Agency: we want to acknowledge that there is work that is being done to review agencies like Mr. Ngatia’s and to ensure that necessary reforms are implemented to ensure that those who travel abroad in search of greener pastures are protected. It is evident from the remarks by Mr. Ngatia, that he lacks empathy for victims who have suffered human trafficking in the Middle East despite running an agency that sends workers there. The impact of such insensitivity can be overwhelming, especially for people with lived experiences. We urge you to review his agency and determine the safety of his workers who currently work abroad. If any migrant attached to his agency is identified as a victim, he should be held accountable. It is also important to us that the review process of his agency be made public and the same applies to the findings. We also think it is important for him to not only issue an apology to the survivors with lived experiences for the false allegations but that he also undertakes training that ensures safe travelling for migrants to offer factual information. Mr. Ngatia’s interview on K24
Survivor Leaders from Azadi Kenya.
Azadi Kenya is a counter-trafficking NGO that focuses on the provision of long term support for survivors of trafficking who, too often, find a lack of community support and understanding when reintegrating into society. Azadi strives to be a bridge between direct care and long term reintegration. We are doing this through the operation of a Resource Centre where the survivors receive vocational and soft skills training to empower them, give them valuable skills, and give them all it takes to become leaders of their communities. Our goal is to create spaces and programmes that enhance the agency of survivors of trafficking, to support recovery from trauma, and to sustain their reintegration into society.