Kenya stops export of labour to Middle East

Local filmmaker Roy Ogolla has begun circulating a report by the stakeholders to various members in government, including PS Bitange Ndemo from the Ministry of Communications/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – The government on Friday temporarily suspended recruitment and export of Kenyan domestic workers to Middle East countries.

In a statement the Political and Diplomatic Secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry Patrick Wamoto said the government will soon unveil a mechanism that will require all recruitment agencies to be vetted.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the Government has temporarily suspended recruitment and export of domestic workers (Housekeepers/maids) to Middle East Countries with immediate effect,” he said.

He further said recruiting agencies will be compelled to sign labour agreements to ensure Kenyans taking up jobs are not mistreated or they are not short-changed for the contracts agreed upon.

Wamoto expressed worries that Kenyans were being lured with promises of good jobs only to end up as slaves. He said the government was quite concerned with the trend. “The Government has noted with concern, the increasing number of Kenyan citizens who have sought employment in the Middle East as domestic workers (Housekeepers/maids) and ended up in distress.”

His remarks come after increasing cases of Kenyans being brutally killed in Middle East while others come back home to report that they were mistreated by their employers.

Last month the Coast-based Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri), estimated that there are more than 30,000 Kenyans working as domestic workers in the Middle East but termed it as human trafficking.

The report indicated that many Kenyans had died in the Middle East in search of better jobs.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions has in the past also asked the government to take action to save young Kenyans especially women who are offered jobs and end up as sex slaves.

Other times they are not paid for their services.

Efforts to crack down on people involved in the illegal recruitment of Kenyans to such jobs have in the past not succeeded since the number of Kenyans complaining of harassment in Middle East has been increasing.

The government’s move on Friday, if successful, will save many Kenyans lined up to take up fake jobs in the Middle East and also salvage those already suffering in the hands of unscrupulous employers.

JUDIE KABERIA

JUDIE KABERIA

Judie, a Special Projects Reporter started practicing journalism in 2003. She has worked in Kenya and Germany. Judie has scooped awards in Reproductive Health, Population, Gender and Development. She has participated in international conferences in Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands. Judie has written a booklet, 'Justice and Peace in the Kenyan Eye'. She has a soft spot for human rights, crime, peace and justice stories and she is now pursuing a Master's Degree at the University of Leicester (U.K).

  • baden

    What is the government doing to curb the issue of it’s citizens searching for jobs outside Kenya? It has failed not only to protect its citizens but to create jobs back in Kenya. Resources meant for the well being and development projects end up in the pockets of a few cronies.

  • w33_dx

    They shoul close the embassies too in those countries esp SaudiA, they are inactive and got no business there other than earn that fat fatty income.

  • Hussein Mohamed.

    had one of the foreign affairs ministers daughter undergone the Middle East experience then perhaps he would have suspended the recruitment permanently! Temporary suspension shows how much they are yet to put themselves on the shoes of the poor Kenyan women slaved in the Middle East. For crying out loud…please here it from the horse’s mouth….’ladies avoid Middle East’. Kenya is still stable enough to feed your hungry mouth. Damn!