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October 17, 2018

[VIDEO] 15 Mombasa youths take watchman jobs in Qatar amid torture claims

Juma Mwangala, Director of Rawafiq Manpower Solution, with some of the Mombasa youths who left the country to work as security guards in Qatar, May 16, 2018. /ERNEST CORNEL
Juma Mwangala, Director of Rawafiq Manpower Solution, with some of the Mombasa youths who left the country to work as security guards in Qatar, May 16, 2018. /ERNEST CORNEL

​Fifteen youths left Mombasa on Wednesday night to work as security guards in Qatar, amid resurfacing concern about mistreatment by foreign employers.

Their travel was facilitated by Rawafiq Manpower Solutions, whose Director Juma Mwangala said they will earn Sh32,400 monthly.

Ten women and 75 men will join them soon.

A demand letter from Professional Security Services Company, where the 15 will work, confirmed their positions.

Hamid Mohamed, one of the youths who travelled, said they read the terms and conditions of employment and signed renewable two-year contracts with the company.

"We've heard those reports but we are going because God has plans for everyone. You can't refuse to go because of the danger that befell others. We have faith that God will protect us."

Mwangala said those facilitated by registered agencies have not reported any cases of torture.

"This is because all the employing companies are recognised and listed by the country's Chamber of Commerce," he said in his office.

Mwangala noted the government would have denied him visas for the 15 had he not been registered.

"We have deposited a security bond of Sh1.5 million so in case of anything, we will be held liable. No complaints have ever been lodged against us."

The Director added that they only recruit to countries Kenya has signed bilateral agreements with, including Qatar.

He said the demand letter from Professional Security Services Company was taken to the Labour and approved.

"In the event there is an issue, I will personally fly out to fix it," Mwangala said.

The Director asked the government not to abet human trafficking; he said victims were allowed out of the country by rogue immigration officers.

​The government is cracking the whip by de-registering recruitment agency flouting labour rules.

There are about 110 registered agencies nationally, six at the Coast, according to Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

In 2015, Kenya revoked the licences of 930 agencies. They exploited employment opportunities in the Middle East countries, luring desperate Kenyans with promises of well-paying jobs, only to offer them the contrary.

Most of the people these agencies recruited, the government said, detailed abuse.

The ban was lifted in March 2016 for people with professional qualifications but bogus agents continued to traffic Kenyan youth desperate for jobs, some in war-torn countries.

After seeing those who work abroad build large houses, drive luxurious cars and wear expensive clothes, jobless youths have felt the need to grab similar opportunities no matter the conditions.

Read: How youths are conned in hunt for visas and jobs in the Middle East

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