Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Arts to End Slavery

The 3rd of July marked the inauguration of the exhibition Arts to end Slavery organized by HAART Kenya and hosted by Kobo Trust.
The Artist exposing their work were:Paul Otieno Abwao, Rehema Baya, Lia Beharne, Samuel Githui, Immaculate Juma, Abdul Kipruto, Leevans Linyerera, Cephas Mutua, Lincoln Mwangi, Peterus Ndunde, Naitiemu Nyanjom, Brian Omolo, Joan Otieno, Nicole Riziki, Lemek Tompoika, Gemini Vaghela.
Spoken word poets Seise Bagbo and Roy Royboy along with guitarist Cusamusique performed during the event.

The 4th it was a closed VIP event where I had the wonderful opportunity to perform an excerpt of my play I...Immigrant... Woman... to want to say to write (staged in Europe and Africa and sill used in multicultural school programs) and met with interesting people all committed in different ways in fighting human trafficking.

The United Nations define Human Trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.  Part of the human trafficking activities there's: forced migration, early marriage, sexual exploitation, traffic of organs, forced labor, bonded labor, domestic servitude, child soldiers.
Though it is outlawed everywhere, it exists globally.  According to latest global index 46 millions of people today live as slaves. The report indicates 167 countries where slavery still happens. Modern slavery is a multi-billion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually, I guess this statistic is not updated but it gives a sense of the impact in our societies. 

HAART Kenya is the only organization in Kenya working to end modern slavery. 
According to HAART:  Kenya has the highest rate of human trafficking in both Central and East Africa. As a source, transit, and destination country, Kenyan urban centers such as Nairobi and Mombasa provide both the supply and demand required to grow the industry. Often victims are trafficked either to or through Kenya from neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Forced labor is the main form of human trafficking in Kenya, with 41.3% of Kenyan children ages 10-14 years of age being exploited for cheap labor within the country. Once taken, these children are put to work in industries such as agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending and begging. Kenyans are also frequently lured to the Middle East and Europe with the promise of well paid employment. After their arrival, their passports and identification documents are often confiscated and their wages withheld, leaving them at the mercy of their employers.

It was indeed an exceptional event addressing this global and very important issue using art. As someone said: When artists give form to revelation, their art can advance, deepen and potentially transform the consciousness of their community.  Each artist of the exhibition had the responsibility to raise awareness on human trafficking because it is through art that reflection, identification, resilience overcome prejudices, stereotypes, judgement. It is through art that we build bridges and destroy walls for a world without borders, without barriers. In art we find a powerful tool that makes impact in our societies and through which is possible to resist  and fight back injustice in a revolutionary and constructive way.

Sophie Otiende and I

Seise Bagbo and Cusamusique
Sophie and Clara Castells
Seise Bagbo, I and Roy Royboy
Rehearsals time


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