Jetha case lifts lid on human trafficking

The trial and jailing of businessman Asif Amirali Alibhai Jetha for human trafficking has lifted the lid on how foreigners from South Asia are trafficked into the country.

Jetha, who holds Canadian and UK passports, was last week jailed for 30 years for trafficking 12 Nepalese women into Kenya for exploitation.

He was found guilty of recruiting, facilitating travel, receiving, keeping in slavery and using women and girls to make a living against local and international laws.

The case also exposed how foreigners and international criminals run global crime networks in the country as law enforcers look the other way. His criminal underworld, for instance, was based in exclusive clubs at the coast, places where sexual exploitation of minors by foreigners happens right under the noses of police and other law enforcers.

According to the women’s testimony, Jetha targeted the poor and the vulnerable in Nepal.

They said they were all desperate for employment hence the allure to come to Kenya where they were to dance their way out of poverty at New Rangeela Bar and Restaurant in Mombasa.

Nepalese women

The club is said to be open only to a the rich who can afford the hefty entrance fees and tips to workers. Mujra is an erotic dance performed by females in a format that emerged in South Asia and revelers are said to tip the dancers during the entertainment sessions.

To get them here, Jetha contacted the women while they were in Nepal and sent them money for air tickets and a month’s salary in advance. A former police officer based at the Immigration Department told court that, in his analysis Jetha’s travel history, the businessman’s entry and exit coincided with arrival of some of the Nepalese women.

On May 29, 2018, for instance, the accused entered the country through Moi International Airport in Mombasa and, three weeks later, on June 18, two women arrived in the country on the same flight. A perusal of the accused’s passports, the court was told, indicated that he arrived in Nepal on June 27, 2018 and left on July 3 for India before departing for Mombasa on July 5.

The court was also told that it was indicated in the passports that Jetha had visited India and Nepal several times and the last time he was in Nepal was on December 2, 2018.

“While the accused was not obliged to explain his travel destinations and reasons for such travels, the circumstances of the case reveal that his travels out of the country was connected with the arrivals of the girls into the country,” Shanzu Resident Magistrate David Odhiambo said as he sent Jetha to the gallows.

Financial vulnerability

Upon arriving in Mombasa, the prosecution told the court that the accused would pick up and take the women to an apartment in Bamburi where they stayed.

The court noted that the businessman took advantage of the women’s financial vulnerability for the purposes of exploitation.

The women told the court that they only had one day off in a month and were only allowed to use the housekeeper’s phone between 3pm and 6pm to communicate with their families . From the premises, Sh69,050 and $1,382 were recovered in different tins and were later found to be tips given to the girls by clients.

And, for his sins, Jetha was fined between Sh100,000 and Sh1 million for being in possession of proceeds of crime, engaging in business without a work permit and unlawfully employing foreign nationals.

The magistrate said that the 12 Nepalese women went through an experience that they may not wish to be part of again in their lives.

Credit: Source link