Detectives from the DCI have nabbed two foreign nationals on allegations of human trafficking in Kenya.
The two were nabbed in a house in Ushirika, Eastleigh, where they had rented the room.
The detectives also found Kenyans aged between 23-30 in an adjacent room in the house.
According to the DCI, the two foreigners, Thabit Hanni Yaseen Radman and Faren Yassin Radman had allured the Kenyans into the trap with unspecified jobs in the Middle East.
The police also promised to continue with investigations into the matter as they keep the two in custody.
Following at tip off from the members of the public that there were several people locked in a single room at Ushirika Estate within Eastleigh, @DCI_Kenya detectives based at Pangani proceeded to the said location where in one room they found two foreign nationals namely…
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) February 23, 2020
The allure of the Gulf
This is not the first time that cases of human trafficking to the Gulf states have rocked Kenya.
For a majority of desperate jobless Kenyans, the call for available jobs and better pay in the Middle East has prompted many to take the bait and cross the seas to the Arab nations.
But it has not been smooth sailing for the many that have managed to find employment in the Gulf.
From abusive employers to being denied food and pay, those lucky enough come back home injured. However, some come back in coffins, highlighting the precarious nature of jobs in the Middle East.
On top of enduring abuse from their employers, many migrant workers also have to hand in their passports to their employers and are not allowed to seek another employment opportunity. This is due to an oppressive, slave-like system called the Kafala system.
Basically, the Kafala system is an exploitative system that gives an employer the right to determine the movements their migrant workers through the sponsorship system (where the employer pays the facilitation fees for the employee). Thus, they basically have ‘bought’ them.
Following haunting videos on social media from Kenyans in the Middle East, the Kenyan government shut down unregulated agencies and stopped Kenyans from travelling to the Gulf for domestic work in 2014.
Early 2019, though, they let more than a hundred recruiting agencies operate but under strict laws. They then formed the National Employment Agency.
Through the NEA, they would protect Kenyan domestic workers abroad. One of the measures was through the agencies paying a sh 1.5 million bond, which would facilitate returning of frustrated Kenyans from the Middle East.
However, as the DCI arrest has shown, there still remains unregistered agencies operating human trafficking rackets. It also points to a lack of human trafficking regulations in the country.
Abandoned and Detained
In June 2019, a Kenyan by the name Ms Elizabeth Sineno pleaded with the Kenyan embassy to bring her home from detention in the labour offices of Saudi Arabia.
Through audio, Ms Sineno called out her employers for abusing her and asked Kenyans to help her come back home.
Ms Sineno had been sold off to another employer by her initial employer. The new employer then dumped her by the roadside. She was picked from there by police and taken to the labour offices, where she was detained along with other abused migrant workers.
Ms Sineno was later released.
Women biggest victims
Many of the domestic workers who travel abroad are women. This is due to women being hardest hit by the employment and economic crises that are hitting the country.
According to Oxfam Kenya, women performed more caregiving jobs than men. However, if the caregiving jobs pay well, then men would take up more of those jobs than women.
“Male domestic workers spent 41 hours per week doing unpaid care work compared to females who spent 77.8 hours weekly on average.” The report stated.
Additionally, many domestic workers and others who work in low-paying jobs in Kenya earn less than 10,000 shillings a month. Therefore, the allure of better pay in the Middle East of twenty thousand shillings and above is too tempting to turn down.
Children also remain at risk in human trafficking activities.
Despite the horror stories coming back home from the Gulf, for many, it is a chance to try their luck. The hope that the landscape has changed, the social fabric rewoven calls them on.
Yet, it remains a dark call, this call to the Middle East. Because, no matter the regulations, the pervasive attitude in the Gulf states that blacks are slaves mean that there is no end in sight for these abuse cases.