Migration is a truly global phenomenon, with movements both within nations and across international borders. The world has an estimated 244 million international migrants (UN DESA, 2016) and 763 million internal migrants (UN DESA, 2013). In other words, migrants make up more than 1 billion people, or one-seventh of the world’s population. Population diversity in most developed countries can be attributed to international migration, whereas in developing nations it is mostly internal migration that contributes to this diversity. Migration to “global cities” – those that are advanced producers of services, have large economies, are international gateways, and are political and cultural hubs of international significance – is increasing, with migrants equaling over a third of the population in, for example, in Sydney, London and New York, and more than half in Dubai and Brussels.

Kenyan Migration Context

Internationally, Kenya is a regional hub for irregular migration as a country of destination, a country of transit and also as a country of origin. Most migrants in Kenya follow the routes towards South Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, Europe and North America. As Kenya is also a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking, key areas which need addressing are protection and treatment of victims. Smugglers use trade routes frequented by nomadic ethnic groups from the Horn of Africa to North Africa and beyond. Some countries in Eastern Africa operate primarily as transit countries, whereas others are major source countries. There are three main destinations for migrants from Eastern Africa, which are Europe, the Middle East and Southern Africa.

Kenya is a major source of migrant workers in various professions around the world and has been ranked 3rd in Africa in diaspora remittance inflows. Remittance inflows into Kenya jumped by nearly 11% in 2020 to $3.09 billion. However, the Kenyan labour migration phenomenon is not without challenges. Contractual migrants comprise a vulnerable population such as Domestic Workers, Security Guards, Cleaners etc. that experience a range of social and economic issues. Local communities need to be better capacitated on how to make informed decisions about working abroad and how to harness the skills and resources brought by labour migration towards personal and local development.

Internal Migration

Kenya’s internal migration is caused by several reasons which include economic (labour-related), community conflicts, natural disasters, climate change and environmental degradation, and forced evictions. In general, there is a paucity of data on internal migration, with most of the available information collected during Kenya Population and Housing Censuses {KPHC}. Data is lacking on the number of persons displaced as a result of climate change and environmental degradation, which particularly affects pastoralists, but anecdotal evidence suggests that pastoralists have to move further from traditional grazing areas and for longer periods of time in order to find pasture and water for their livestock. Development and environmental protection projects have resulted in forced evictions.

The Purpose of CDTD’s Migrants Resource Centre

The intentions of CDTD’s migrants resource centre include;

  • To provide independent, accurate and up-to-date information services and advice to potential migrants to empower them to make informed choices to participate in safe, planned and legal forms of migration, and enable them to make informed decisions that affect their mobility, integration and economic and social advancement
  • To advocate for the protection and promotion of the interest and well-being of the youth and migrants key among them our primary beneficiaries, Domestic Workers
  • To engage other service providers in a multi-disciplinary team approach to disseminate key information to communities and protect migrant workers. NB: CDTD facilitates the provision of coordinated information and services that are complementary to existing services.
  • To accept and recognize each migrant’s uniqueness and belabor the importance of according him/her due consideration, respect, and fair treatment
  • To spearhead professional, ethical, accountable, and trustworthy interventions for VOTs and other victims of exploitation and abuse
  • To contribute to awareness and development of national and regional policies in countries of origin, transit and destination designed to govern migration and promote growth and development.

Who Benefits from the Resource Centre?

  1. Potential migrants – Young women and men seeking low skilled work locally and abroad
  2. Working migrants – Kenyans who are already working abroad and (specifically) in low skill jobs
  3. Returnees and their families – Workers returning home with issues labor etc. that need interventions and their families