WATCH: Three Kenyan women recount their spine-chilling tales from Saudi Arabia
More revelations have come to light of the horrible treatment that Kenyan domestic workers are often subjected to by their employers in Saudi Arabia.
Barely two days after the return of Diana Chepkemoi, the young Kenyan woman who suffered ill health and was stranded in Saudi Arabia for several months, three other Kenyan women have shared their spine-chilling tales from Middle East.
Joy Simiyu, Peris Maciko and Faith Jumwa all left the country for Saudi Arabia with hopes of earning a decent living only to find themselves enslaved and trapped in the Gulf nation.
Faith, 25, who hails from Kilifi County, says she went to Saudi Arabia in December last year through an agency known as Aldhawich. She was seeking employment as a domestic worker.
“I was excited to be in a new country, not knowing what was in store for me,” she told Nairobi News.
It wasn’t long before she was hit hard by reality. Things got bad pretty fast with her employer threatening to kill her.
“I called the Kenyan agency to inform them of the threats I was receiving, but I never got any help from them. I could not bear the threats and I decided to leave the house,” she recounted.
After leaving her employer’s house she got arrested and was later taken to an accommodation for domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. During her stay in Saudi Arabia, she says only survived on one meal a day.
“My employer used to overwork me despite feeding me on just one meal a day. She used to give some hard stuff that looks like chapati,” she says.
Apart from normal duties in her employer’s house, she was also forced to work for her employer’s relatives.
“Whenever I complained, my employer would hear none of it. It was a tough time for me. My employer even took away from phone,” she says.
Faith is now pleading with president-elect William Ruto to give her a job.
Joy, 25, has a similar story. She says after she landed her job through Makungu Company, she was forced to work in three houses, contrary to the agreement she had signed.
She complained to the Kenyan agent, but no action was taken.
“I used to sleep for only four hours. It was a lot of work,” she recalled.
At some point, her boss refused to give her food and started threatening to kill her.
“It was not her nature to be in the kitchen. So on one particular day I was shocked to see her next to me holding a knife. I used my instincts and fled,” she says.
Thereafter she made an effort to contact the employment agency in Saudi Arabia because all she wanted was to return home.
“I was taken to a nearby accommodation and promised a new job. Inside the accommodation, there are several ‘detainees’. Some were battling mental issues. We only eat one meal a day. There was no water and we were also not allowed to go past the gate. It is like a little prison,” she said.
She also recalled that some girls ended up being sexually abused in their efforts to get ‘other jobs’. She is now pleading with the government to rescue Kenyan women who are stilled trapped in Saudi Arabia.
For 35-year-old Maciko, it was a case of landing in the hands of someone who had been barred by the government from having an employee.
“I refused to work in that house because I was not sure why he was barred from having an employee. I called the police and I was taken to the Kenyan Embassy,” she recounts.
She was later transferred to an shelter where she met two women who she only identified as Trizer and Florence. The two were agents of the company that took her to Saudi Arabia.
“The two are like monsters. They don’t care about their people. They even let their clients to be sexually exploited for them to return to Kenya or get new jobs. They should be fired because they are not helping Kenyans,” Peris said.
All three women said they would never go back to the Middle East country after what they experienced with a warning to anyone seeking domestic jobs in Saudi Arabia.
“It better to earn Sh10 in your home country than to suffer in the hands of strangers,” Peris said.
According to Haki Africa, a human rights organisation, as of now, there are more than 200,000 Kenyans in Saudi Arabia who are working in different companies and homes, most of whom are working under inhumane conditions.