My employer would beat me, hit me whenever I complain of being unwell

MOMBASA, KENYA: Tears of joy flowed freely at the Moi International Airport (MIA) Mombasa moments after an Ethiopian Airlines plane, ETT 322 touched down on Tuesday mid-day.

One of the passengers aboard the flight that had originated from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was coming back home confined on a wheelchair.

Binti Hamisi Juma Binti , 42-year old and mother of five children was coming home following her two-and-half year hospitalisation after a brutal attack by her first employer in 2014.

Binti, holder of Kenyan passport number A1723135 who left Kenya for the oil rich region where she had secured a place to work as a domestic servant in March of 2014 was full of life when she flew out.

She had to obtain emergency travel documents from the Kenyan Embassy to enable her upon her discharge from hospital travel back home.

She was accompanied on her trip back home by another Kenyan domestic worker, Mwanakame Kibwana who happened to be travelling back for her annual leave from work.

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She was hoping for good rewards with a steady salary of an equivalent of sh 22, 600 monthly salary in her new job.

But that was never to be.

A doctors report seen by The Standard from Mizahamiya General Hospital in Riyadh where Binti had been hospitalized indicated that she had suffered from brain hemorrhage , right haemiplegic and that the patient was anemic.

According to her elder sister, Mwanajuma Juma who was at the airport together with Mr Joseph Juma from the Chrisitian Human Rights for Justice and Mr Abdalah Awadh of the Kenya in Diaspora Community in Saudi Arabia (KDCSA) ,Binti told them that she was headed to work in Saudi Arabia after securing a job.

‘We wished her well. She called once and told us she was doing fine. After that there was no communication for a very long time,” she said.

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Binti’s son in law, Mr Mwinyi Hamisi through the assistance of Christian Human Rights for Justice established contacts with the Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh and was told about their kins hospitalization.

” The details were scanty. I never gave up and we managed to get officials from the KDCSA who had visited my mother in law in hospital and even got to speak to her. She sounded weak all through but we were relieved when we got whattsup images sent of her walking about with lots of difficulties in hospital,” Mwinyi said.

He added that he was later to learn that her mother in law was subjected to physical abuse from the day she got there.

”My first employer would beat me, hit me with blows and even kick me whenever I would complain of being unwell,”Binti who had difficulties in her speech said.

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She remained thankful to God for having ensured that she returned back home alive.

”I thank Allah for seeing me through,” she said amid sobs as her daughters who live in some distance places started arriving at the home of her son in law, Mwinyi.

Binti was never paid a single dirham (Saudi currency) since she started working.
Mombasa based civil society group , Haki Africa through its Executive director , Hussein Khalid said that Kenyan domestic workers are prone to abuse and exploitation through sexual violence, mental cruelty, slavery through working under degrading conditions, withholding of wages, confiscation of travel documents, confinement in employer’s home with excessive workloads for almost 21 HRS, workers being deprived of food and to some extent being treated like animals where any physical contact with their employer is considered as contamination.

”All these aspects put together can simply be defined as modern day Human Trafficking and Immigrant Smuggling,” Khalid said.

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