The government has set aside Ksh. 70 million to build safe houses to host Kenyans who have been abused in Saudi Arabia.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui on Tuesday said Kenya was seeking to safeguard its migrant workers from violations in the Middle East countries by establishing safe houses there.
Mr. Chelugui who was speaking in Mombasa during the official launch of the National Job Fair said the government has also begun tracking down Kenyans suffering abroad as it works on combating illegal labour immigrants.
He noted that it will now be mandatory for all private recruiting agents to register with the National Employment Authority (NEA) to be allowed to export workers.
“We will enforce that requirement that all private recruiters register with NEA be allowed to recruit any Kenyan to work abroad. As a quick measure to save those suffering abroad and more so in Saudi Arabia, we shall open safe homes to protect those being mistreated as we plan for their repatriation,” said Mr. Chelugui.
He singled out the Coast region as one of the areas where many unregistered job recruitment agents are operating, some of whom are being used to recruit youth to terror groups.
“Some job placement companies have taken advantage of policy gaps to exploit Kenyans but now with the new policies, they will have to comply or else they will close their shops,” said Chelugai.
Cases of abuse and torture of Kenyan migrants who serve as domestic workers by their Middle Eastern employers are not new. In the recent past, videos of distress have been emerging out of the Middle Eastern country, showing Kenyan women in apparent anguish in crowded rooms, some of them lying sick on the verge of death.
The CS acknowledged that in the past two years alone, close to a hundred Kenyans have died abroad under such circumstances.
“In the last two years, we have registered 97 cases of Kenyans who have died while working abroad but we want to end it,” said the CS.
CS Chelugui previously stated that there are about 97,000 Kenyans living and working in Saudi Arabia.