Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has called upon the government to immediately ban employment agencies that corruptly facilitate the recruitment of Kenyans to work in Saudi Arabia.

He called on the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to revoke the licences of agencies that don’t meet the minimum requirements.

In a statement issued in Nairobi on Monday, 3rd May, Atwoli said Cotu (K) had been opposed to having employment agencies that don’t meet the minimum requirements and which collude with top government officials to avoid compliance.

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”That many innocent Kenyans have been tortured to death while others have been subjected to slave-like life whilst in a foreign land is not in question. Notorious for these acts are countries in the Middle East and specifically Saudi Arabia.”

Atwoli said that some officials were easily bribed to facilitate the travel of Kenyans abroad to suffer oppression by employers.

”Reading stories, watching the news, and viewing images of how innocent Kenyans are suffering in foreign lands in the name of seeking greener pastures is extremely heart-wrenching. It is not just painful for the labour movement fraternity when young boys and girls come back in coffins, but I believe it is equally disturbing to anyone who loves his country and its people.”

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Atwoli said the government should establish bilateral engagements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to sign agreements touching on the rights of Kenyans on its territory.

“Post more labour attachés to countries in the Middle East, where many Kenyans are present to protect the rights of Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia and come up with policies that create employment for youth to avoid having them going to foreign countries in search of employment.”

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