UK envoy speaks after BBC exposé on abuse of tea workers

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott. 

Photo credit: Joan Pereruan | Nation Media Group

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott has spoken out following a BBC exposé detailing the sexual exploitation of female workers at UK tea firms operating in the country.

In a statement posted on her social media account, she expressed her concern about the allegations made in the documentary titled Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea

"Sexual abuse and exploitation has no place in society," she said while urging the companies concerned to protect their workers and cooperate with the police. 

Yesterday, one of the companies, James Finlay Kenya, announced that it had sacked two contractors who were featured in the BBC exposé.

"We have terminated our agreement with John Chebochok’s company Sislo Holdings. 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," said the firm in a statement. 

"We have also suspended John Asava. Both individuals have been barred from entering James Finlay Kenya," it noted, adding that it had reported the BBC's allegations against them to the police.

BBC’s Africa Eye documentary featured shocking accounts of sexual exploitation from women working at Finlays after its reporters spent months undercover at its tea plantations, which supply the beverage to many of the world’s leading retail chains. 

The documentary contains footage showing the two contractors, who have worked on Finlays' farms, taking part in alleged incidents of serious sexual misconduct. It shows them coercing desperate women seeking jobs into giving sexual favours in return for work.