Claims still rife of Kenyan women ‘enslaved’ in Middle East as maids

Claims still rife of Kenyan women 'enslaved' in Middle East as maids

In Summary

  • The women are denied proper food, they are given left overs or rotten food from the fridge.
  • The women are raped, impregnated then jailed.
  • The women's passports are confiscated and denied use of phone.

Videos of Kenyan women pleading to be rescued from employees in the Middle East have become almost commonplace.

The most recent was of one Njeri Mwaura, pleading to be rescued from Saudi Arabia.

“I have stayed for four days without food, I have no strength. I am in the toilet as I record this video, if I am found, they might kill me. Please, please my fellow Kenyans help me,” she says.

This is just one among the many cases of Kenyan women being mistreated in Middle East countries.

Unscrupulous agents have been known to lure desperate women to seek meagre jobs since they cannot get employment in their own country.

Most of the time, the women do not know that they are going to be maids and even if they do, they are not told the working conditions.

Upon arrival, their phones are confiscated and the agents go missing: they never do a follow up on the women.

The women are left to fend for themselves in a foreign country and with no knowledge of the Arabic language.

Many cases of Kenyan women ‘enslaved in the Middle East have been reported in the past.

One example is Fauzia Muthoni, who now works with the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA).

It is an organisation aimed at educating domestic workers and women on their rights when they seek to work abroad.

Fauzia was allegedly tricked by her agent that she was going to work in Qatar as a receptionist, only to find herself in Saudi Arabia working as a maid.

Fauzia said she would be forced to eat leftovers and sometimes even rotten food.

She adds that she would work for up to 18 hours a day and to make matters worse, her male boss would take advantage of her amidst threats on her job.

“In this state ,if the wife knows that you are having an affair with your husband you risk being killed,” Fauzia said.

She adds that she was never paid for almost two years.

Mary Kibwana, whose incident was highlighted by the then Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, arrived in Nairobi from the Middle East in a wheel chair and covered in a buibui.

Underneath the buibui, her body was tied up in bandages.

Mary had sustained 47 percent degree burns on her body when the gas cylinder at her employers house exploded.

Her employer, mad at the damage in her house kicked her instead of taking her to hospital.

A neighbour, who heard her screaming in pain, came to her rescue and rushed her to hospital.

Levina Mapenzi was working as a domestic help for a wealthy family in Saudi Arabia.

Her boss allegedly raped and impregnated her and she was jailed for “committing adultery”.

While in prison, she said she was tortured, would go for days without a decent meal and at times was beaten up.

During her whole gestation period, she claims she never received any medical attention.

Julia Nyambura pleaded with the Kenyan Government to rescue her daughter from Saudi Arabia.

Her daughter, Mary Wanjiku thought she was headed to Dubai only to find herself in Saudi Arabia.

Her agents had tricked her into signing a contract that was in Arabic language.

Mary would frequently call her mother asking for help.

On September this year, over 50 Ugandan women were arrested and detained at Nyayo House in Nairobi while on transit to Oman.

They had fake entry stamps on their passports and were believed to be victims of human trafficking.

They had made their way to Kenya using the Rwakaka, Malaba and Busia border.

The Human Rights Watch in Uganda said the women were kept in safe houses before being transported to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to travel to various destinations in the Middle East.

Ms. Adikini Teddy, one of the victims, said she and several girls were trafficked through Malaba.

In Nairobi, they boarded a flight at JKIA to Muscat, Oman and on arrival their passports were confiscated.

They were allegedly taken to different homes where they worked as house-helps.

In the home where she lived, she said she was forced to wash walls and the roof with no pay. She would also reportedly get one meal a day.

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