By Joylene Sing’oei
The Government has suspended recruitment and export of domestic workers to Middle East following several complaints of harassment by employers.
In a press statement released Friday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Political and Diplomatic Secretary Patrick Wamoto said many Kenyans seeking employment in the Middle East as domestic workers especially housekeepers and maids have ended up in distress.
Wamoto added that the complains the ministry receive range from mistreatment, lack of payment of salaries, overwork, denial of food and lack of communication with their relatives in Kenya.
“The Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to the protection and welfare of all citizens, including those outside the country. We are working on a mechanism, including but not limited to, vetting of all recruitment agents afresh and signing of Labour frameworks Agreement with various countries to address some of the concerns raised by the distressed Kenyans in the Middle East”, read part of the Statement.
Most of the Kenyan migrants to Middle East earn their livelihoods as drivers, technicians, salesmen, security guards, engineers, accountants, bankers and domestic workers.
Cases of Kenyans being abused and even killed in Saudi Arabia have been on the increase.
As the quest for working abroad heightens for many skilled and semi-skilled Kenyans, only a handful know the implications of working in countries where labour laws are hardly emphasised.
Some have even ignored media reports of gross brutality toward foreign labourers in some countries and gone ahead to embark on trips abroad, expecting greener pastures only to undergo modern-day slavery.