In a bold and decisive step, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (the home for Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat) constituted a Multi-Stakeholder Technical Committee for Fostering Recruitment Agencies’ Ethical Practices and Accountability. CHTEA was nominated to sit as a voice for the Civil Society. The Committee was officially commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary for Labour, Mr. Simon Chelugui on 23rd July 2021.
The Committee launch came hot on the heels of a government revelation that Kenya had lost up to 93 labour migrants to the Middle-East/Gulf region. Labour Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui told MPs that the Ministry is unable to provide a detailed breakdown on the deaths of the Kenyans, which occurred mostly in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“We are following up with the Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior to know who the victims are and where they came from in the country,” Mr Chelugui told the National Assembly’s Labour Committee.
The CS had appeared before the Labour Committee alongside Principal Secretary Peter Tum to explain the circumstances that led to the death of Melvin Kang’ereha in Saudi Arabia in 2020.
He said that since January 2019, the ministry facilitated the employment of over 87,784 Kenyans in the Gulf Region. A majority of the migrant workers are in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain.
“Within the same period, the ministry has received reports of 93 deaths of Kenyan migrant workers in the Gulf Region.
CHTEA has been tracking the Middle-East Kenyan labour migration situation and the increasing exploitation with a keen interest since 2019. During 2020, a major crisis of Kenyans stuck in Lebanon moved CHTEA to mobilise her partners (both local and international) for repatriation. A total of 129 survivors/returnees were processed and supported with air tickets and ground transport back home besides being placed on a rehabilitation, restoration reintegration programme.
Once again, as at June 2021, the number of exploitation cases received by CHTEA had reached a discomforting level; with a majority of the reports received from a few member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC member States include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Kenya has signed three bilateral labour agreements with a few GCC member states namely; the Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.