James Finalys Kenya has taken action after an undercover investigation revealed sexual abuse on British-owned tea farms in Kenya.
In a statement Monday, the producer of tea for export said it has suspended two contractors who were adversely mentioned in the joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Africa Eye.
The two, John Chebochok and John Asava, were secretly captured on video demanding sex from women workers at James Finlays Kenya in exchange for employment.
James Finlay, the second largest tea company operating in Kenya’s Rift Valley, termed the testimonies of the women in the exposé as deeply shocking and saddening.
“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,” the tea firm said.
In addition to terminating its agreement with John Chebochok’s company Sislo Holdings, James Finlay said it has reported the matter to the police for further action.
“We immediately suspended the two individuals featured in the BBC investigation and barred them from all Finlays’ sites. All 300 contractors who were working with us through Sislo have been offered direct employment to ensure their livelihoods are not affected – 98 per cent have accepted,” the firm said.
Finlays added: “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 BBC investigation also exposed sexual abuse at two other tea exporters in Unilever and Lipton Teas and Infusions.