In spite of the absence of concrete measures to cushion domestic workers in Saudi Arabia since 2012, scores of young girls are still leaving for the oil-rich country.
With at least 150 girls passing through the Cresent Medical Aid laboratories daily for a compulsory health-check before travelling, no clear cushions have been established apart from the lenient “Protection from Abuse” law adopted by the Gulf state last August.
The Foreign Affairs ministry said the temporary ban was lifted on September 12, last year after bilateral negotiations between Kenya and Saudi Arabia.
They gave us 10 recruiting agencies which are recognised by them, and expected us to do the same, and to be handled by the Labour ministry,” said Edwin Limo, an Assistant Director of Information at the foreign ministry.
Cotu, through its secretary general, Francis Atwoli, last year said the law was too lenient to have an impact. The law criminalises sexual, physical and psychological abuse.
Offenders face from a month to one year in jail or fines of up to $13, 000 (about Sh1 million). Prior to the law, domestic violence was considered a private matter.
The foreign ministry, however, did not provide the names of the 10 agencies but admitted that rogue agents were still smuggling girls to the oil-rich country.
Their counterparts in the Labour ministry said they could not reveal the local recruitment agents even though it’s their mandate. Common grievances for girls travelling to the gulf state include; compulsory confiscation of passport by the employer and long working hours, physical and sexual abuse. Arthur Situma, NN-nairobinews