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My daughter is locked up in Saudi Arabia but there's nothing I can do – distraught Eldoret mother

By Stephen Rutto | May 21st 2021
Ann Wangari’s daughter Jane Wamboi (inset) is stuck in Saudi Arabia. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Ann Wangari has been inconsolable for nearly two weeks.  

Efforts by the ageing mother of four to bring her daughter Jane Wamboi who is stuck in Saudi Arabia back to Kenya have borne no fruits.

Wamboi, 30, made a distress call from Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, claiming she was among a group of 23 women locked up in a house in Al Janadiriyan near the country's capital, Riyadh.

Wangari says she has been crying in her house in Moi’s Bridge, Uasin Gishu County, since May 7, 2021, after receiving the disturbing news of her daughter’s tribulations in the Middle East.

She says her daughter left the country in October 2020 to work as a security guard in an unknown location in the kingdom but ended up working as a housemaid.

Barely two months after landing in the gulf, a distraught Wangari said her daughter complained of mistreatment.

“My daughter travelled to Saudi Arabia through an agent called Grace. She told me she was going to work as a security guard so that she can educate her son who is in primary school,” said Wangari.

She added: “Weeks after arriving in Saudi Arabia, she called through a strange number and lamented that her phone had been confiscated by her employer. Her journey to help me and her son turned troublesome. She later told me that she had fled the employer’s home.”

Wangari said the 30-year-old fled to a police station earlier this year and was hired by a cop. She, however, fell sick and was allegedly denied access to treatment.

Ann Wangari says her daughter left the country in October 2020. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Wangari says she approached Grace, the agent, in Eldoret town but she declined to help get her daughter out of Saudi Arabia.

“My daughter told me that she was being tortured in the new home. She sent Sh10,000 in January and later sent Sh15,000 through her sister in Nairobi in February. Since then, I never heard from her until May when she complained through a resident of Moi’s Bridge that she had been locked up in a private residence,” said the mother of four.

Wangari said the family sought help from a woman who posed as a Ministry of Labour official who asked for Sh25,000 to help her suffering daughter secure freedom from her captors in Saudi Arabia.

The 'labour official', however, started making excuses after receiving the money.

“I have no option left. I want my daughter back home. I can’t reach her because she has no phone. I don't know what is going on. I am pleading for help from the government of Kenya,” she said amid tears.


In her distress calls, Wamboi said she was locked up in a room with 23 women of different nationalities including five other Kenyans.

“We only have one phone which a woman sneaked in. All of us have been using the same phone to communicate with our families,” Wamboi said 10 days ago. “We are only relying on water from a toilet tap. We are staring at death.” 

She said the Kenyan women were recruited to Saudi Arabia through two employment agencies; Liam, and Mahara.

Ann Wangari. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Maurice Otieno, a Moi’s Bridge resident who received the first distress call from Wamboi, said the woman was crying when she called.

“Wamboi spoke in a weak voice. She said she was sick but could not get medication. I tried to call the agency that took her to Saudi Arabia but a woman I spoke to was rude. The woman said that a Saudi Arabian agency had held Wamboi’s travel documents before she hung up.”

When contacted by The Standard, Grace distanced herself from Wamboi’s tribulations, explaining that she was only helping a Nairobi-based employment agency to recruit, and was not in a position to help anyone travel back to Kenya.

“I don’t have an employment agency. I can only recruit for a company in Nairobi, and that is where my work ends,” she said without disclosing the Nairobi-based employment firm.

Earlier this month, The Standard and KTN carried stories of Kenyan women dying and others subjected to untold suffering in the hands of employers in Saudi Arabia. 


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