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5 Aug 2019

Brian Otieno, The Star (Kenya)

Kenya: Trafficking victim trapped in Iraq; Haki Africa calls for regulation of recruitment agencies to protect migrant workers

"Trafficking victim trapped in Iraq appeals for Uhuru's help"

Lucia Nekesa thought her life would change for the better when an agent told her he could secure her a lucrative job in Qatar as a domestic worker. But she found herself in Iraq, working for different bosses in the war-torn country. In a video plea for help, Nekesa says her health has deteriorated because of frequent beatings ostensibly for being lazy. “I am bleeding a lot. I have tried taking medication but they do not work,” she says. The 40-year-old mother of five is now appealing for help from President Uhuru Kenyatta...

Haki Africa rapid response officer Mathias Shipeta said fake recruitment agents are increasingly taking advantage of the desperation of job seekers to traffic people. “When you take a Kenyan to Iraq for a commission, what are you doing? It is like you are sacrificing that Kenyan,” said Shipeta. He called on the government to rein in on all briefcase recruitment agencies. Shipeta urged Kenyans to use the right channels when travelling abroad for work. “The business is so lucrative that now agents in the Middle East travel to Kenya to recruit people into slavery themselves. The government has to double their efforts to protect Kenyan migrant workers,” he said.