Nelly Jelagat, who made headlines after confronting a labour agent at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) lobby, narrated how she was tricked into a well-paying job only to end up in Saudi Arabia.
Jelagat, on Wednesday, September 14, disclosed that she was promised a competitive job in Qatar and due to financial challenges at home, she gladly accepted the offer.
To win her trust, the agent persuaded her to enrol on a one-month and two weeks training course with the hope of qualifying to become a domestic worker in the Gulf State.
Weeks to examinations, Jelagat, however, found out that she was not destined for Saudi Arabia, and neither did the job description match the initial offer.
She tried to approach the agent to rectify the terms of service, but they failed to come to an understanding. She thus resolved to drop out of the learning centre.
The agents, she claimed, threatened her to refund the money spent on her training. But with financial constraints, she failed to raise the money, compelling her to take up the job.
"When the man approached me saying that an opportunity had presented itself in Qatar, I just thought about my daughter, who is in class seven now," Jalagat told Nation Africa.
"When recruiting people from rural areas, they woo you by lying that you will be taken to Qatar, because they know that the situation is better in Qatar, only for you to be taken to Saudi Arabia," she added.
After landing in Saudi Arabia, the first two weeks were welcoming. She had a clear schedule and job descriptions. But after that, everything changed.
Jelagat narrated that she was forced to clean mansionettes with over 30 rooms a day while being starved. She was as well moved from one house to another while being forced to undertake duties she did not sign up for.
In one instance, she was accused of theft by her employer in Saudi Arabia.
"At the house where I was working, the extended family lived together. I would wash the whole house, which had 38 rooms, daily but it also changed, and I would also wash another one with more than 30 rooms. I tried to complain to my boss but nothing changed," she recalled.
Jelagat was deported after spending over five months in a hostel in Saudi. Landing in the country, she had lost everything, including her savings.
The embattled woman accused her agent of demanding Ksh150,000 to cater for travel expenses which forced her family to clear all her savings. The agent reportedly disappeared with the money and only showed up when she landed at JKIA.
Jelagat called on the government to rescue other domestic workers who were stranded in Saudi Arabia.
President William Ruto expressed plans to end workers' suffering and mistreatment in other countries by setting up the Ministry of Diaspora in his inauguration speech at Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday, September 13.
He argued that the decision to establish the Ministry follows a series of complaints raised by Kenyans in the diaspora.
"The focus has been on remittances, while their fundamental rights as citizens have been neglected. To correct this oversight, I pledge to elevate diaspora issues at a ministry level," Ruto promised.