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Cotu demands crackdown on unscrupulous employment agencies in Kenya

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) now wants the government to crackdown on employment agencies notorious for corruptly recruiting Kenyans to work in foreign lands, especially the Gulf countries.

Further, Cotu has called for the licenses of the agencies to be revoked for working in the country without meeting minimum qualification standards.

This follows another harrowing story on the life of Kenyans at the hands of their employers in Saudi Arabia after being recruited into the gulf countries by such unscrupulous agencies.

Cotu blamed such agencies for many innocent Kenyans ending up being tortured to death while others are subjected to slave-like standards of life while in foreign lands, with Saudi Arabia notorious for such cruel acts.

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli has called on the Ministries of Interior, Labour and that of Foreign Affairs to immediately stop the operation of the employment agencies infamously known to corruptly facilitate the travel of Kenyans to Saudi Arabia.

“Reading stories, watching news and viewing images of how innocent Kenyans are suffering in a foreign land in the name of seeking greener pastures is extremely heart wrenching,” said Mr Atwoli in a statement.

“It is not just painful for the labour movement fraternity in the country when young boys and girls come back in coffins but I believe it is equally disturbing to any Kenyan who loves his country and its people,” he added.

Mr Atwoli said the unscrupulous employment agencies collude with top government officials to have paper work done and also get registered without following the due process.

They then bribe some officials in the government to facilitate the transportation of innocent Kenyans to the foreign lands for torture in the name of employment.

“As Cotu, we have been opposed to having employment agencies that most often than not don’t meet the minimum requirements of an employment agency and also those that are notoriously known to collude with top government officials to have paper work done and also get registered without following the due process,” he said.

To further help wrestle the increasing cases of Kenyans suffering at the hands of their employers in Saudi Arabia, the Cotu Sec Gen has called on the government to establish bilateral engagements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to sign agreements touching on the rights of Kenyans working within Saudi Arabia.

Further, he said the government can post more labour attachés to countries in the Middle East, where many Kenyans are present, to help in protecting the rights of Kenyans working there.

To stem the proliferation of Kenyans seeking employment in poor foreign countries, Mr Atwoli asked the government to come up with policies geared towards creating more employment opportunities for the youth to avoid having them going to poor foreign countries in search of employment.