The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Noordin Haji, has directed the Police Inspector General (IG) Japeth Koome to launch an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by supervisors and managers at Unilever and James Finlay & Co tea plantations.
DPP Haji takes action after viral BBC exposé
In the exposé, workers reported that their bosses use their position of power to take advantage of them.
These allegations were brought to light in a recent BBC Africa Eye documentary titled "Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea."
According to the DPP's letter to the IG, the allegations made by female workers at the tea plantations are in violation of several sections of the Sexual Offences Act and the Kenya Employment Act.
The allegations range from rape, sexual assault, compelled or indecent acts, sexual harassment, to the deliberate transmission of HIV or any other life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases.
The DPP has invoked Article 157 (4) of the Kenyan Constitution, which empowers him to direct the police to investigate any criminal offense.
The IG has been instructed to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the allegations and submit a report to the DPP's office within seven days.
In the documentary, workers reported that their bosses use their position of power to take advantage of them.
The investigation has exposed the darker side of the tea industry, which has long been associated with images of quaint tea rooms and idyllic countryside scenes.
The UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott, has joined voices with human rights activists and lawmakers to demand action following the exposé.
The investigation, which was released on February 20, revealed that sexual exploitation was rampant on tea farms that supply some of the UK's most popular brands.
The report exposed local bosses who preyed on an undercover reporter and highlighted the stories of over 70 women who came forward to reveal how they had been sexually abused by their supervisors, with some later testing positive for HIV.
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