Foreign affairs ministry raises alarm over raising web of human trafficking to Asia

The Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs has sent a warning to Kenyans about a web of international human traffickers who are in cahoots with local recruitment agencies and playing on desperate Kenyans to move them to Asia.

In August, the ministry said it was “overwhelmed” by distress calls from citizens who were conned into accepting jobs that did not exist in the South East Asian region by a suspected human trafficking ring.

According to the ministry, Kenyans seeking jobs abroad are being lured into traps furnished with a 90-day visa based on information provided by the agents including hotel accommodation and a return ticket which is canceled immediately after the victims depart.

At this point the victims are left in the hands of local networks in those destinations who then move them on to other destinations, confiscating their passports which remain under the custody of the criminal gangs.

“The decoyed to textile “factories” to engage in criminal activities, under the watchful eyes of armed men and owners of “factories”,” the ministry said.

The ministry further says the victims are held captive in areas of high insecurity and civil strife that hinder access and rescue efforts.

Despite the highly publicised traps of scrupulous jobs, Kenyans in their masses are still looking for jobs in ASEAN countries and risking their lives.

In September, the government announced it was forced to rescue citizens in danger in countries like Myanmar. Other countries include Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, where officials said they received distress calls from Kenyans stuck there.

Kenya says most of them are young women who end up engaging in illegal activities, including being smuggled into Myanmar for the ‘dirty’ jobs in a country now under the leadership of an isolated military junta.

At the same time, the Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) estimated the number of those seeking migrant jobs in Saudi Arabia to be close to 10,000 from about three cohorts that graduated with the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) certified pre-departure course in Nairobi.

The training launched in 2018 is given to potential migrant workers after they secure jobs and are ready to travel and work abroad.

The program is aimed at sealing gaps in the sector and end human trafficking but it still has a long way to go.


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