Kenyan man says he was Sexually Abused in Dubai
Many young Kenyans dream of a rosy life working abroad, especially in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. But while many distressed women have narrated their ordeals at the hands of crude Saudi and other Arab employers, men have always kept quiet, until now. Stephen Kinyanjui, 32, from Muchatha in Kiambu County, talks bitterly of his suffering in Dubai in the United Arabs of Emirates.
“When I was growing up I always dreamed of being a police officer. I have tried in many recruitment exercises but unfortunately it has not worked till today,” he explains, adding that a friend told him of greener pastures in Dubai, to which he immediately applied for because of his desire to fly to a foreign country.
“Soon, the security agent through Dubai Aviation City Corporation responded that I had qualified to go and work as a security guard. I was so happy and knew that this could liven my dreams of being a police officer as I knew after I travel back to Kenya I would have some skills in that career.”
Kinyajui left the country on October 30, 2011. Together with his colleagues, he was hosted at the Dubai Police Academy, where they underwent short-term training headed by the International Center for Security and Safety. They then graduated with certificates under the Department of Protective Systems.
They were issued with their official licenses to work at sites and events of the clients, and then transferred from the Dubai Police Academy to different camps. The group of around 300 men from different countries including Kenya, Nepal, Egypt and Asian countries was then divided into smaller groups of six to eight men in each camp.
“Imagine a group of 300 men working in different locations where there are no women. It was made clear that we needed to help each other satisfy our sexual urges now that no one had come with his wife. At first this was not clear to me. I thought the camp bosses, Sebastian and Patrick, were just cracking a bad joke, until I witnessed men hugging and kissing openly in the camps.”
As a Christian, he completely kept off this as it was against his faith. But because of his refusal to cooperate, his colleagues, including Kenyans, ganged up to harass him. They would go to his work location, tie him up and molest him by touching his private parts, undressing him and taking nude photos before violating him. He reported the men to both his junior and senior supervisors at the company. But all his efforts were in vain.
“By February last year, I could not take it any more, I reported this to the line manager, who I met in person. He falsely agreed to help me.”
Kinyanjui told the Star that the junior and senior supervisors were angry when they realised he had taken the matter to the line manager. They forcefully harassed him and even tampered with his personal belongings at the camp. “They tore my personal documents into pieces and tried to poison me a number of times. They made unfounded accusations to humiliate and discriminate me after I declined to cooperate in gay sex. Some friends sympathised with me and urged me just to cooperate, but when I still declined, I was exposed to unfavourable extreme conditions and given wrong working equipment in addition to being over worked,” he says.
He later insisted on meeting the line manager for the second time, but was laid off for being a bother to the management in March 25, 2013. His passports and other other documents were confiscated and he was ordered out of the camping accommodation.
Kinyanjui sought refuge at the Kenya Consul General’s office in Dubai. The consulate, through John Kyovi Mutua, advised Kinyajui to start a legal process by filing a case with the department of labour in court.
His efforts to seek further intervention through Kenya’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs And International Trade bore no fruit as the ministry distanced itself on grounds that it had no financial capability to handle the case. In part, a letter from the Principal Secretary’s office read:
“The Kenya Consulate General in Dubai is informed of your case and in fact it is well known to the whole consul as they had tried to intervene with your previous employers, parents and siblings and the Dubai authorities and even sought legal representation for you. Allegations of rampant homosexuality, abuse, defamation and slander in given institutions goes beyond the purview of the mission’s mandate and we do not have financial capability to handle,”
While Kinyanjui was being tossed from one office to the other, his former employers falsely reported to Dubai Police Systems that he had gone insane.
On January 6 this year, Kanyanjui was arrested by Dubai CID officers who took all his travel documents including ATM cards, business cards and medical cards. He was taken to a deportation camp where he lived until January 28, when he was moved to police cells for two days before being forcefully deported back to Kenya.
The suffering of Kenyans in Dubai has not gone unnoticed by the Kenyan government. Parliament majority leader Aden Duale attributes this to lack of a proper policy on labour in the country. He added that the policy will provide guidelines on the welfare of Kenyan workers in other countries. “Our intention is to table this document in Parliament before November. The policy aims to eliminate all the illegal briefcase labour agencies that have deprived Kenyans over the years,” he said
The law will vet recruiting agencies, which will be expected to provide information on contract terms, medical and life insurance among other essential information before recruiting any Kenyan.
Although Kinyanjui is happy to have returned home, the experience in Dubai traumatised him. He warns young people against rushing to work in other countries. “No Kenyans should have to go through that ordeal,” he concludes.