Protect workers abroad

 The suffering of Kenyan workers in the Middle East has been flagged numerous times following deaths or serious injuries inflicted by employers, their kin or agents.

 It is a pity that the search for greener pastures ends so tragically or causes so much agony and torment.

Many families are mourning the deaths of their kin in unclear circumstances. And for some, the suffering is intensified by the long wait for the bodies to be flown back home.

Many Kenyans, most of them domestic workers, leave the country with irresistible promises by recruitment agencies only to end up in hell on earth. Once in the Middle East, they are abandoned by the recruitment agencies and hardly get any help from the Kenyan missions in their host countries.

Torture and humiliation are the daily experiences of many of those still overseas. They often recount harrowing stories of being overworked and mistreated.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has confirmed that at least 316 Kenyans have lost their lives in the Gulf in the last two years. Saudi Arabia accounts for the highest number of the deaths of Kenyan immigrants in any of the Middle East countries with 166 workers.

With President William Ruto personally encouraging Kenyans to seek jobs overseas, the Middle East is a popular destination already accommodating 416,548 immigrants. According to Mr Mudavadi, the number could be higher as some do not register with the country’s missions in their host nations.

The assurance that although the recruitment for jobs overseas is a largely private sector affair, the government will not condone unethical enlisting of Kenyans by some agencies is welcome. The government has an obligation to protect its citizens at home and wherever they may be living or working abroad. It must liaise with its Saudi counterpart to ensure the protection and safety of the suffering Kenyan workers.