Domestic workers

Kenya to build homes for abused domestic workers in Saudi Arabia

The Kenyan government has said it will work to set up shelters to house domestic workers in Saudi Arabia amid reports of physical and mental abuse – and even deaths – before they can be repatriated to that country. from East Africa.

According to Arabi21.

The Kenyan government has said it wants to “protect” workers who have suffered mental and physical abuse in the Gulf kingdom. Reports have also suggested that some of the abuses led to the deaths of a number of domestic workers.

Kenyan Labor Minister Simon Chelugui said 70 million shillings ($593,968) will be allocated to the project because Kenyan nationals who face abuse while serving in Saudi Arabia “need protection until their repatriation can be managed”.

“We wouldn’t like to see Kenyans stranded abroad, but we will be in safe homes. We will have a pilot project in Saudi Arabia, establish two homes, but first we will start with one in Riyadh, the headquarters, and then in Jeddah,” he added.

The Kenyan government has said it will also adhere to strict enforcement of registering worker data with all overseas recruitment agencies known to the authorities, before being sent to work overseas.

According to official statements, the number of Kenyans working and living in Saudi Arabia has doubled over the past three years, reaching nearly 100,000 Kenyans, most of whom are domestic workers.

However, due to concerns about worker welfare and safety, Kenya’s foreign ministry proposed a temporary ban on recruiting domestic workers and bringing them to the Saudi kingdom in September last year.

Principal Foreign Secretary Macharia Kamau said conditions for domestic workers had deteriorated significantly since 2019, with an increase in worker deaths.

Last year, at least 41 Kenyan domestic workers are believed to have died, while in 2020 the death toll stood at 48.