“I always start by saying we want to thank God for the work in Kenya because if God had not been on our side, I don't know where we would be.” —June Nderitu
June Nderitu is the project manager for Love Justice Kenya, overseeing the monitoring teams there for the past two years. In that time, she has walked with the teams through discouragement and danger to surging impact and new hope for the future, giving thanks to God through it all.
Discouragement among anti-trafficking teams
The end of 2021 brought several challenges to LJI Kenya. For one, impact dropped considerably, meaning the monitors were not catching many of the trafficking cases passing through their watch.
“It had really dipped, like almost scraping the bottom of the barrel. We were so low in our impact that there was a lot of discouragement in the teams,” Nderitu said.
In the month of December in 2022, they recorded only two intercepts.
Another discouragement affecting the team around that time was a trafficker’s sudden release from jail.
The year prior, in a landmark case, the monitors helped police arrest this trafficker and bring him to court; the court found him guilty, and he received a maximum sentence. The case even made the news. Then, to the team’s dismay, he was released from his sentence the following year.
This problem of traffickers being released after their arrest or conviction happens more often than you might think. Our monitors manage complex relationships with local law enforcement, advocating for justice in areas where a bribe is a commonplace way to get out of criminal punishment.
Hearing of the trafficker’s release, the monitors in Kenya were afraid at first to continue their work in the same places. To make sure everyone was protected, they came together and started working in teams of three. They especially made sure that the monitor who was most involved in the case—a human trafficking survivor herself—had a team around her at all times to ensure her safety. (Pictured: LJI Kenya Monitor, Somoe, who dedicated her life to fighting human trafficking after surviving being trafficked herself.)
But most importantly, they gave their discouragement to God.
“We told Him that we cannot do this on our own,” said Nderitu.
They asked for God’s help with increasing impact, protection, and encouragement. Additionally, they have a team committed to praying and fasting for them every week.
“By the grace of God, [our impact] has been going up,” Nderitu said. “He's actually literally shown us what to do, and that's why we keep praying.”
Consolidating the teams for their safety upon the trafficker’s release ended up helping their impact surge. Instead of monitoring separately, team members began working together and holding each other accountable.
Other changes included holding strategy meetings together where the monitors would share their ideas for how they might be more effective in the field and saving time by going paperless in filing forms on each case rather than having to return to the office in order to file.
“It's working so well,” Nderitu said about the new paperless system. “We thank God it's quicker; it's so much quicker. And we thank God that going forward we can only advance.”
As they continued praying and making these changes, things began to shift.
“The Lord has been gracious because our impact has been growing steadily. We attribute 100% to God,” said Nderitu.
This year, the monitors hit 30+ intercepts every month since April, with a record 71 intercepts this October! Their average number of intercepts this year is about three times what it was last year.
Dreams for the future
Nderitu and her teams are not stopping there—they have many more plans and dreams for the future.
Last year, they tried piloting a mobile monitoring team in Kenya, but it didn’t go as expected. One goal for the future is to take what they learned from that and try again.
Another goal is to start cross-border monitoring with the Uganda team on their shared border, so that any suspected traffickers or potential victims that slip through from the Uganda side might still be caught on the Kenya side.
They still face discouragement. They recently had another case where a trafficker was arrested and then released. But they trust God that one day they can hire someone to focus on following up with police cases, making sure the right paperwork is done and avoiding the chance of a trafficker being released on a bribe as much as possible. That way, the monitors could simply focus on their primary role: catching the trafficking cases. (Pictured: Nderitu [right] stands with two monitors at a border point they hope to expand to.)
“And we look forward to hope,” said Nderitu.
Prayer requests for the Kenya team
She asked for prayer for her staff, that God would refresh them and meet their needs, and for them to not get frustrated or lose faith. She asked for prayer for the board and other supporting members to be refreshed, as they provide the teams with so much encouragement and support. And lastly, she asked for this:
“That God would help us to be excellent in what we do and that we would continue to grow our work so that He's glorified—not anybody, not any monitor, not any staff, but that the Lord would receive glory for the work.”
We admire Nderitu for her unwavering faith and trust in God and the way that her humble leadership has transformed LJI Kenya into a close-knit, innovative, and impactful team.
Will you join us in praying for this dedicated team? Learn more about LJI Kenya at the country page and sign up for our prayer updates on the form below!
*All data and statistics current at the date and time of publishing. Names changed and some specific locations excluded for privacy and security purposes. Images are representative and do not picture actual victims.