Kenya Bans Domestic Workers from Traveling to Saudi Arabia

The abuse of African domestic workers, particularly in the Middle East, has been highlighted several times throughout this blog. Well, it seems like divine intervention and/or common sense has finally woken up the leadership in Kenya.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has enacted a temporary ban on the recruitment and exportation of Kenyan domestic workers to Saudi Arabia until adequate protective measures are put in place. Macharia Kamau, the Principal Secretary of Foreign Affairs, advised that he had written to the Labour Ministry in July requesting a temporary blockade.

The following was given, by way of The East African:

“As additional measures to protect the rights and welfare of migrant workers are put in place, the ministry recommends for temporary ban of recruitment and export of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia.”

“The statics indicate the dire reality that we face. It warrants bold and decisive action to curb further suffering of Kenyan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.”

Three deaths were reported to the Kenyan embassy in 2019, forty-eight in 2020, and forty-one this year. Distress calls from domestic workers rose from 88 in 2019 to 1,025 in 2021.

Secretary Kamau argued that Kenya should not condone or ignore the high number of deaths and distress calls from its citizens, who are mostly young and vulnerable women. He added that a mandate of protection for Kenyan workers abroad needs to be enacted by the Labour Ministry and the National Employment Authority.

It looks like Mr. Macharia Kamau will be added to the list of African leaders with a backbone. My only request is that this temporary ban becomes permanent. African domestic workers should not have to travel abroad to work.

Until Next Time…


Photo Credit: IPS

Mutai, E. (2021, September 24). Ban Kenyans from going to Saudi Arabia as domestic workers: ministry. The East African. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from 


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