By Constance Ndeleko
Kenya’s very own Maryana Munyendo, the Founder and Director of Missing Child Kenya has been appointed as the coordinator for Kenya, for the Rotary Action Group against Slavery (RAGAS)
RAGAS recognizes the global challenge that faces the world’s enslaved and children at risk. Thus, it works closely with organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and the enslavement of adults.
Missing Child Kenya—a community driven platform which was founded in July 2016, with intentions to help families find their missing children by creating awareness on the issues of missing children. With an emphasis that no family should have to deal with the trauma of a missing child alone.
Maryana strongly believes that today/now is the time to start integration and constructive use of technology to fight human trafficking. Through technology we can work together for protection of human rights, education, exemplary citizenship, the community, advocacy and business, she elaborates.
As the Kenyan Coordinator for the Rotary Action Group against Slavery (RAGAS), Maryana believes that there’s a clear need to have a joint effort towards protecting children.
Modern slaves are disposable, cheap, and being hidden from plain sight have no human rights. Very young children are now in greater danger than ever before as sex and labor traffickers exploit opportunities arising from natural disasters, deprivation, civil conflict, and mass migration.
What does this mean for Kenya?
In an interview, Maryana says, “Exploiting children in orphanages is now recognized as trafficking. Around the world, an estimated 8 million children are living in orphanages, despite the fact that 80% of these children are not orphans. In addition to being used for financial gain – children in orphanages are sexually exploited, forced to beg (akin to child labor), kept in slavery-like conditions, and exploited in many other ways.
As Missing Child Kenya we are dedicated to reducing the stay of lost and found/ displaced children in institutions through alerts for family tracing. We will work to encourage our Government to take action against this form of orphanage trafficking. It will further influence how donors allocate funds and also increase opportunities for the criminalization of perpetrators under an anti-trafficking mandate.”
Maryana envisions building and promoting a robust Kenyan RAGAS community that will jointly work tirelessly to put an end to human trafficking/modern-day slavery.
This comes in closely in alignment with the need on SDG 8–Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.
Additionally, the combined effort will enhance in protecting and promoting human rights. Subsequently, what RAGAS does it to:
Publicize the work of, and work with other anti-slavery organizations
Reminding Rotarian’s of their ethical responsibilities with regard to the rights of children.
Encouraging Rotarians and Clubs to take action by:
- a) Actively supporting the work of anti-slavery organizations in their work combating slavery and human trafficking
- b) Directly supporting various projects
- c) Identifying and boycotting offending products
- d) Supporting campaigns that highlight illegal activity and seek to bring justice for those offended
Influencing policy makers when considering the rights of children and adults held against their will.
Engaging Rotarian’s world-wide through Rotary’s social and other networks.
RAGAS working with others globally will end human trafficking by:
- Creating awareness: Telling Rotarian’s and the wider public that millions are held captive for illegal gain – MANY NEAR WHERE YOU LIVE!
- Taking action: Supporting, working with and promoting global anti-slavery bodies and activities through Rotary Clubs, co-campaigns and projects that help protect children and adults from slavery and its consequences.
She further states that protecting children is a shared responsibility of the governments, law enforcement authorities, parents, guardians, caregivers and the community. It takes a village to raise a child – and with technological advances, the global village is now borderless and digital.
For more information about being a part of the RAGAS Kenyan Chapter, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or more information about Missing Child Kenya please visit:
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