The high cost of living coupled with high inflation and together with the high rate of unemployment, has pushed many young people to leave the country seeking ‘greener pastures’ as a way to financially support their family members. Most times ‘green pastures’ are not so green as they are assumed to be. Many young Kenyan men and women find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Sadly, when they go abroad through agents, they are most often rogues/criminal syndicates who promise them endless perks and opportunities once they arrive at the destination countries.
Tragedy in a foreign land
Sadly, this was the case for five Kenyans- Four gentlemen and one lady- who travelled to Malaysia to work as office assistants/receptionists in early January, 2023 through the Bemoliz and Talent Quest Africa agencies. They were promised good paying jobs with a salary Ksh. 60,000/- (equivalent to USD 460) per month, working for eight hours daily. Upon arrival in Malaysia, things were not as they expected. Instead they worked for twelve hours a day at J&T cargo, with no food and no payment for four months. Their living conditions were unbearable, they used to sleep on waste cartons on a cold floor and they begged for food from well-wishers.
Upon asking for their salary, they were met with a rude shock and dumbfounded when their boss told them that he had bought them at Ksh. 160,000/ equivalent to USD 1.230 per person to get them to Malaysia. They were promised to get work permits in Malaysia on arrival, since they used travel visas to get to Malaysia. However, it proved impossible for them to get any help from the authorities.
After endless hassle with the J & T cargo management concerning their salaries, they were chased away from the company with no pay. They ended up seeking for shelter in unfinished construction sites and begging for food to survive. They reached out to the Kenyan embassy in Malaysia for help who advised them to raise money for their air tickets back to Kenya. CHTEA in collaboration with other partners are working around the clock to get sponsors for their tickets. CHTEA is currently offering online counselling services to the victims.
Above: inhuman living conditions, cartons on cold floors serving as beddings (shared by victims)
Appeal for tickets
They shared their story with CHTEA during an exclusive interview. The news reached the Kenyan government who directed the embassy to take them to Kuala Lumpur where they have been staying for about two months as they continue to wait for tickets. Their families have not been able to raise the fees. They are humbly seeking for well-wishers for help them raise the overstay fees and air tickets to get back home.
Anyone willing to support with tickets, kindly get in touch with CHTEA through telephone number +254 701 339 204 or email email@example.com