Kenyan MPs to investigate sex abuse at tea farms

Kenya’s Parliament has ordered an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse on tea plantations revealed in a BBC report.

Lawmaker, Beatrice Kemei, said she watched the report with “utter shock”.

The BBC found more than 70 women had been abused by their managers at plantations operated, for years, by two British compa­nies, Unilever and James Finlay.

The companies say they are shocked by the allegations. Four managers have been suspended.

The Fairtrade Foundation described the allegations as “ap­palling”, and said the investigation – by BBC Africa Eye and BBC Panaroma – were “nothing less than a #MeToo moment for tea”.

Ms Kemei, who serves as wom­an representative for a tea-grow­ing area in Kericho County, said the report highlighted the “entrenched” sexual harassment at “tea multinationals operating in our country”.

Member of Parliament (MP), Beatrice Elachi, said it was unfor­tunate that such incidents were still taking place.”Today is a very difficult day for me as a woman, leader and citizen of Kenya.

Today I’ve been reminded that slavery still exists in this nation; I cannot explain how a man has violated women in tea plantations for 30 years and nothing has been done,” she was quoted by local media as saying.

Deputy Speaker, Gladys Shollei, ordered a committee of MPs to complete an investigation into the allegations within two weeks.

In the BBC investigation, one woman said she had been infected with HIV by her supervisor, after being pressured into having sex with him.

Another woman said a division­al manager stopped her job until she agreed to have sex with him.

“It is just torture; he wants to sleep with you, then you get a job,” she said.

A BBC undercover reporter, who posed as a jobseeker, was invited to a job interview by a recruiter for James Finlay & Co. —BBC

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