For a while, Kenyans and the entire world has been fed the news of torture and human slavery claims coming from the Middle East. Not long ago, we saw the news of Diana Chepkemoi who left Meru University as a student To go search for employment so that when she comes back she will have fees and money to buy other things. She left a healthy young lady and came back in a worse state.
Here are some of their stories
1. Diana Chepkemoi
Diana has been a household name in recent months. She was a young lady who left in search of a livelihood and fees to continue with her studies but this wasn’t the case.
The family said months ago, no communication came through since her employer confiscated her phone. She was ill and wasn’t given any medical attention, with her employer threatening her that “she will see fire”
Was it not for the public outcry, would she have been rescued?
One family who sort anonymously narrates this:
“I am the firstborn in a family of 7. With that big family, bills weren’t paid and I saw an advert for a household needed in Saudi, and I was obliged into taking the job”
So I ask, “Did you not see the previous cases and victims?”
“I did”, but poverty has a way of hardening your heart, and my agent, who was a friend to my cousin assured me of my safety, so I went.”
She says that’s when the nightmares began, from only taking black tea, one per day, to working over 18hrs, to sleeping on the floor in the laundry room. “Heri ningebaki Kakamega nilime shamba” ( it would be better if I remained in Kakamega and tilled our land) she said.
How did she get back home?
“Were it not for the video that trended in 2021, I wouldn’t be back home, and I am sure, I would be a laying corpse somewhere in Saudi.”
“I am very grateful at this moment. It is better to hustle in your own country and have peace,” Diana Chepkemoi’s mother, Clara Chepkemoi said at the Jomo Kenyatta airport as she was waiting for her daughter to land from Saudi Arabia.
2. The late Caroline Alouch
Another family, the Alouchs recounts how it’s the darkest part of their lives. Caroline Alouch went to work in Saudi. Due to mistreatment, she tried to run away, but she was found, beaten, and detained in a room with many other Kenyans and Uganda. She did go to the police but all was in vain.
On asking her agent, she was told “fanya kenye wasichana wengine hufanya” (Do what other ladies do) to insinuate sex trafficking.
But sadly, the late Caroline didn’t live to tell her story.
3. Wanjiku Njoki
In 2018, Wanjiku Njoki travelled to Jedda, Saudi Arabia, and was among the 57,000-100,000 people who travelled to Gulf countries in that year according to the Ministry of Labour. According to Africa.com, this is her story.
Having read stories of people suffering and death, she raised this with her agent but she has assured her none of that would befall her at all since the agent has non-abusive clients in the gulf nation, little did she know she would be the next victim.
She had been promised $700 but only got $180 of which upon being given, she would be forced to write an agreement she received the money, and then she was snatched back the $180 received.
She would be denied food, forced to work from 5 am till midnight, and with her phone and passport confiscated, she had no way out. Later on, she was shown how to escape and she was arrested and deported, a blessing in disguise.
All the victims have in common is; mistreatment, sex trafficking, assault, salary being held up, violence, torture, and starvation among others. But all they say is they wished the embassy would be conducive and come to the rescue of many other Kenyans still stuck there.
“If only we had better agencies, and agents to care for us……”
In October 2022, Kenyan agents came out condemning girls who were sent to the Middle East accusing them of among us prostitution and not adhering to the local cultural roles of the Arabic nations but no human being should be subjected to such inhumane acts and yet it is not just one isolated case but numerous cases accusing the employers and the agents.
The Kenyan embassy back in Saudi Arabia has received backlash from Kenyans for doing little to nothing and letting go of such cases yet, They are all citizens of our republic, but with new hope, Kenyans are hoping that the new Kenyan administration will come to the aid of our fellow Kenyans stuck in the Middle East and make sure those rogue agents and employers be an example to anyone who might go contrary to human rights and employees rights. They should make sure the labour laws of Kenya are followed and that workers travelling out are protected. There should be a strong policy for immigration to protect workers travelling abroad.
To prevent such cases, those seeking employment n the Middle East are advised to use qualified and accredited agencies with a provable work record since most of these agencies are used to smuggle and traffic humans and thus cannot care for the victims but just themselves only.
You can also read the following:
Saudi Arabia: New Details of Alleged Torture Leaked
How To Deal With Workplace Discrimination
Fragile – A Story Of Sexual Exploitation Of A Young Girl (Sexual Slavery)