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Report: Domestic workers in Kenya likely to face physical, sexual abuse

Most domestic workers in Kenya are earning far below the required minimum wage, a statistic that suggests the inability to enforce the existing laws, a report has revealed.

The survey adds that domestic workers in Kenya are more likely to face abuse at their workplace compared to their counterparts in South Africa.

While rates of physical abuse are similar in the two countries, Kenyan respondents are 62 percent more likely to face verbal abuse and almost four times more likely to face sexual abuse

The report was conducted by SweepSouth, an online home services platform that connects users to vetted and rated domestic workers, considered the largest and most detailed survey in Africa.

The survey received opinions from more than 1 000 domestic workers in Kenya and over 25 000 domestic workers in South Africa.

The report continues to be the largest and most detailed survey of its kind on the African continent, offering the most comprehensive view to date of the living and working conditions of domestic workers.

“The past year’s massive increases in transport and food costs have made it even harder for domestic workers to make ends meet,” the report adds.

“Worryingly, indebtedness also appears to be on the rise, with nearly three out of four of our respondents saying they are in debt, and around 40 percent feeling hopeless about being able to repay it.”

Further, up to 70% of domestic workers in Kenya are said to have lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.