LEADER

Kenyan deaths in Saudi Arabia worrying

A 2021 Human Rights Watch report cites the kafala system (visa sponsorship) as the root to the abuse of migrant workers.

In Summary

• Many families have buried loved ones whose only crime was poverty that drove them to seek greener pastures in the gulf nation only for them to come back in a coffin.

• Unfortunately, none of the deaths in what is turning out to be killing fields is ever investigated to the conclusion.

Alice Tindo who died in Saudi Arabia in June
Alice Tindo who died in Saudi Arabia in June
Image: COURTESY

The death and torture of Kenyans, especially young women, working in Saudi Arabia as domestic workers is an endless tale.

Many families have buried loved ones whose only crime was poverty that drove them to seek greener pastures in the gulf nation only for them to come back in a coffin.

Unfortunately, none of the deaths in what is turning out to be killing fields is ever investigated to the conclusion.

The script is the same. The body arrives, the media covers the emotional occasion, families and human rights groups demand action, a postmortem is done and the victim is buried. The matter ends there.

The latest incident is that of Caroline Aluoch a second year student at Kisii University whose body arrived in Kenya on Saturday (Page 2).

A 2021 Human Rights Watch report cites the kafala system (visa sponsorship) as the root to the abuse of migrant workers.

The system gives their employers excessive power over their mobility and legal status in the country, exposing them to abuse, passport confiscation, delayed wages and forced labour.

Kenya must negotiate better working conditions for its citizens in Saudi Arabia to end the killings and modern day slavery. 

The Foreign Affairs and Labour ministries should have a database of all Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia and be proactive by bailing out those in distress.