James Finlay Kenya suspends two bosses accused of sexually exploiting women in BBC documentary
In a statement issued on Monday, the firm says it has terminated its agreement with John Chebochok’s company Sislo Holdings, and absorbed all 300 contractors who were working through Sislo to ensure their livelihoods are not affected.
John Chebochock and John Asava were secretly filmed preying on women workers at James Finlays Kenya in exchange for employment.
The women in the BBC’s Africa Eye narrated how they were infected with HIV by the two individuals, as they had to give in to their demands to get employed.
“There is no place for behaviour of this kind anywhere in our business. We firmly believe that everyone should feel safe when they come to work at Finlays. That is why we have robust policies and procedures in place – such as comprehensive guidance to staff, detailed and continuous training programmes, an anonymous third-party whistleblowing hotline, as well as dedicated welfare and medical staff available on site – to prevent abuse of any kind,” Finlays said in the statement.
The firm further said it has reported the matter to the Kenya police and instituted internal investigations aimed at finding the truth about the expose.
“We reported the BBC allegations against John Chebochok and John Asava to the Kenyan Police. We will continue to work closely with the police, sharing any additional information that results from investigations. An independent investigation has been launched to fully understand what happened and where we can improve,” the statement read further.
Finlays further said its investigation will seek to examine the specific cases of exploitation raised within the programme and where they can improve their approach to preventing and addressing any sexual violence, abuse, or harassment across the firm.
The BBC expose also featured two other tea exporters in Unilever and Lipton Teas and Infusions.
The script is the same where female casual labourers are forced to sleep with the supervisors to be absorbed into the workforce.
The expose brings to the fore the sexual exploitation in the tea estates in Kericho, especially with the mechanisation of the tea plucking activities.
This has seen human labour cut tremendously, with some of the supervisors taking advantage of vulnerable female casual labourers.
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