James Finlay's response to allegations of sexual abuse on Kenyan tea plantations
... 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 whistle blowing hotline, as well as dedicated welfare and medical staff available on site – to prevent abuse of any kind. However, the experiences these women have shared clearly show that we need to go further and do better. We have taken a number of decisive steps in response to the BBC’s reporting, to protect and support everyone at Finlays: 1. We immediately suspended the two individuals featured in the BBC investigation and barred them from all Finlays sites. We have now 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% have accepted. 2. 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. We are engaged with the Department of Criminal Investigations inquiry. 3. Two independent investigations have been launched to fully understand what happened and where we can improve. We have commissioned two independent investigations to fully understand what happened and where we can improve. We are committed to acting on the recommendations made as a result of the investigation in full. The first investigation, led by law firm Bowmans, is examining the specific cases of exploitation raised within the programme. The second investigation, led by ethical working practices NGO Partner Africa, will comprehensively review where we can improve our approach to preventing and addressing any sexual violence, abuse, or harassment across the James Finlay Kenya sites. 4. Developing an immediate workplan to safeguard all at JFK. In the interim while we await for the reports from the investigations, we have developed – and are implementing – a workplan to reinforce the procedures we have in place at James Finlay Kenya to safeguard workers and residents. ... These reports are incredibly serious. Finlays remains wholly committed to implementing immediate initiatives comprehensively and at speed, as well as taking any further decisive action that will ensure our workers feel protected and supported.
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