Policy development oriented research leading to counter human trafficking protection and prevention policies in Kenya.

Lead Research Organisation: Leeds Metropolitan University
Department Name: School of Social Sciences


The true extent of lives destroyed and communities broken because of the growing human trafficking challenge in Kenya is not fully known. National policies are not being implemented and the complex impact on people, communities, economic development and conflict is not systematically documented. There are gaps in quantitative human trafficking data and not all victims are given victim status, further complicating the picture. This collaborative research between Leeds Beckett University (UK) and Haart Kenya responds to a limited window of opportunity for the development of new approaches to counter human trafficking interventions in Kenya, which depends upon timely collection and exploitation of experiential research data. By collecting data from victims and those at risk of human trafficking, this project will raise their voices through using empowering narrative research methods.
Having already developed relationships with policy-makers, Haart are well positioned to advocate for change, but to have greater impact they need research data that can convey the complexity of trafficking streams and the impacts of trafficking on victims. Building on a track record of research in areas of violent conflict using arts and narrative, Leeds Beckett will support the data collection, capacity building and dissemination of results for policy influence. This research will use narrative inquiry to elicit experiential knowledge, engage multiple perspectives, and draw out meaning about the nature of harm and injustice in human trafficking. A locally hired researcher will work with Haart's local networks to collect stories and narratives from victims and those at risk. By applying narrative inquiry, the research findings will demonstrate the needs of victims and patterns in trafficking streams. To meet the needs of policy makers and influencers, the results will be disseminated through a range of media, including film, exhibition, a stakeholder forum, research reports and academic papers. The research will use an empowering research method which allows victims to control what they share and makes their voices heard. It will be embedded for longer term change and impact.
As a result of this project the Kenyan MP's SDGS Caucus and other policy makers in Kenya will be more likely to effect rapid change and improvements in counter human trafficking policy; policy makers will be able to make better informed decisions about policy development related to preventing trafficking streams and meeting the needs of victims, and to respond to specific challenges; the stakeholder forum will use the research papers to work together on policy reform; Haart will expand and increase the effectiveness of the policy component of its work; and participants will understand how sharing their stories will lead to improving conditions and reduced risk for others in the future.

Planned Impact

This policy-orientated research will focus on achieving improvement in counter trafficking policy in Kenya, leading to better conditions for victims and those at risk. This will be achieved through extending existing relationships to build support, prompt conversations and encourage strong coalitions with the SDGS Caucus and other policy makers and influencers.
The research will have a policy impact by: 1) supporting the implementation of the 2010 Counter Trafficking in Persons Act; 2) providing new information to open areas of debate and opportunities for policy design; 3) creating a space in which policy writing and implementation recommendations can be supported; 4) enabling key issues to be mapped according to geography, routes, types and impact of trafficking.
Policy changes are well documented and easily monitored.
We will know if we have achieved policy impact when new statements are made by MPs asking the Kenyan Government to develop their policies, when government officials participate in developing new policy ideas, and when debates are held in parliament on creating new laws and policies.
The specific policy makers and influencers we will work with are MPs, government cells in charge of human trafficking reduction, International Organisations, and faith based and civil society organisations.
Our routes to policy impact are the film, exhibition, booklet and reports that present the research findings in a policy-accessible format, given directly to MPs and government representatives. The facilitated forum will provide a space for stakeholders to use the findings to propose policy recommendations.

Additional impacts are direct empowerment of participants and building Haart's research capacity for long term sustainability.
The methodology gives the participants agency and power to determine what is shared, and they will contribute to the research in a way that empowers them. They will also benefit from policy changes that create more support for them and prevent future trafficking. We will achieve this impact by training the research staff to use empowering methodologies and working with Haart Counsellors to create a safe space.
We will know we have achieved this impact by inviting participants to comment on the process and their experience of participating in it.

Haart Kenya will have greater capacity to design and carry out research as a result of the training and modelling of research approaches. The systems for data storage, ethical processes and ideas for new research will be left with Haart at the end of the project. As a result, Haart will be better equipped to implement the Policy component of their 4 P approach, which will strengthen the organisation's overall impact in eradicating human trafficking. Individual staff will be able to develop skills in the use of stories to create and disseminate knowledge about human trafficking.


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Title Human trafficking and Covid 19 
Description A short video by Haart Kenya using stories of survivors to explain the importance of understanding human trafficking risks in the context of Covid 19 threats. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact It was shared on social media by Haart Kenya. 
Title Research presentation to International Peace Research Association Conference 2021 
Description Radowslaw Malinowski from Haart Kenya, and Rachel Julian from Leeds Beckett University put together a joint video that explained the significance of the research to understanding Human Trafficking in Kenya, and the importance of using narrative research methodologies to understand the complexity of why people become victims of human trafficking, and the experiences of survivors. This better understanding of human trafficking will lead to improved policy and support for countering human trafficking in Kenya, making it easier for survivors to get help they need, and increasing the awareness of the routes into human trafficking and the risks in different communities. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact There have not been any direct impacts yet 
Description What were the most significant achievements from the award?
The key finding is that survivors of Human Trafficking in Kenya are rarely helped by Government mechanisms and have no knowledge of the specific laws and protocols that are in place to help them so there are gaps between the policy and reality for survivors of human trafficking. The policies are also seen to be too rigid for the may different circumstances that could happen.

Through using narrative data collection methods with survivors of human trafficking in Kenya, where they talked about what had happened to them and what mechanisms they knew about and how the help has enabled them to rebuild their lives, the researchers learnt more about who helped them and what type of support they received. They were most often supported by NGOs and did not know the names of legal protocols. This shows that although the Kenyan government has implemented countering human trafficking measures and protocols, there is a gap between the existence of legal protocols and the actual support provided to survivors.
The narrative data raised a number of questions about how the Government mechanisms are communicated and put into practice, so the research team are going to interview key stakeholders to try to understand the way in which protocols are presented, the training for civil servants and duty bearers, and the relationship of government protocols to nongovernmental activities.

To what extent were the award objectives met? If you can, briefly explain why any key objectives were not met.
Yes the award objectives are met. The narrative enquiry method revealed new information from survivors that the partners (Haart Kenya) had not yet fully understood. It showed that part of the gap between the existence of the government policies, and the effectiveness in supporting survivors, is the lack of knowledge by survivors of the mechanisms that exist. This is directly relevant to working on policy influence because there is now evidence about the communication and knowledge that needs to be shared by Government and Duty Bearers to improve support for survivors. We have already produced a video, and are working on the storytelling.
The research capacity of Haart has been significantly improved and they are now developing new research projects, with new partners, and building a research team.

How might the findings be taken forward and by whom?
Although the dissemination and direct work with policy makers has been disrupted due to the Covid19, the findings will be written up and presented as part of a new publication and conference on 10 years Countering Human Trafficking in Kenya, to be held in 2021. The publication and conference are being organised by Haart Kenya, with support from Leeds Beckett University, in order to engage with key stakeholders on how Countering Human Trafficking in Kenya has developed over the last 10 years, and the focus for priorities now. The research being carried out in this research project will form one of the papers, and the methodology will be used to enable the direct voices of survivors to also contribute written prose, poetry and stories to the publication and conference.
Exploitation Route The methodology has shown that it is possible to reveal new information from survivors by using narrative methodologies. This is now being built into the design of future research to understand the reasons for child marriage in human trafficking.
The incorporation of the findings into the wider debate on countering human trafficking in Kenya means that a more complex and context driven policy intervention strategy can be devised.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

Description Firstly, as part of the research objectives, we trained the Haart Kenya staff in research design and qualitative research methods. As a result of this more staff were able to contribute to the research, and generated research questions that would help them improve the support they design in preventing human trafficking and supporting survivors. This is directly reading to an improvement in services for the welfare of vulnerable people in Kenya. Secondly, the research project identified a gap in the available data. It is missing media evidence on human trafficking in Kenya. So the team designed a new media research project in which they select key publications and social media news outlets and monitor for key words every day, producing a weekly list and monthly analysis.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description Leeds Beckett University GCRF Covid 19 Fund
Amount £9,000 (GBP)
Organisation Leeds Beckett University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2021 
End 07/2021
Description Leeds Beckett University GCRF Partnership Fund
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation Leeds Beckett University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2021 
End 07/2021
Description Blog on Leeds Beckett University Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We wrote a blog for the World Day against Human Trafficking on Leeds Beckett University website
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/blogs/research-enterprise/2020/07/world-day-against-human-trafficking...