Tea producer and exporter James Finlays Kenya has suspended two managers who were exposed for sexually exploiting female workers at the company’s tea estate in Kericho.
On Tuesday, the company announced it has terminated its contract with John Chebochok’s company Sislo Holdings and absorbed all 300 workers who were employed through it to ensure their livelihoods are not affected.
Chebochok and a second manager at the tea estate John Asava were secretly filmed preying on women workers at James Finlays Kenya in exchange for employment.
The women narrated their woes on BBC’s Africa Eye, revealing how they were infected with HIV by the two individuals after giving in to their sex demands to get employed or retain their jobs.
“There is no place for behavior of this kind anywhere in our business. We firmly believe that everyone should feel safe when they come to work at Finlays,” Finlays said in a media release.
“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,” it added.
In addition, the company said it has reported the matter to Kenyan authorities and commenced an internal investigation 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 added.
Finlays noted that its probe will 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 growers and exporters—Unilever and Lipton Teas and Infusions where female casual laborers were forced to sleep with the supervisors to be absorbed into the workforce.