Lucy Wanja left for Saudi Arabia on September 12 for a cleaning job only to return to Kenya in a casket, 10 days later.
This was her second attempt at landing a job in the Gulf country. In 2018, the deceased was conned of Sh105,000 by an agent who later vanished.
She was among 50 girls swindled by the unnamed agent who booked the tickets but never paid for them.
“Their air tickets were ready but when they reached Moi International Airport, they were told the tickets had been booked but not paid for. The agent vanished and closed down his office and we are still looking for him,” Naomi Willy, the deceased’s sister told the Nation.
Her mother, Susan Nzilani, 67, is demanding answers from the Kenyan and Saudi Arabian authorities about what really happened to her child.
“They have brought a corpse instead of my dear child. My daughter was healthy and I don’t understand what happened when she arrived there,” said Ms Nzilani.
She recalled receiving a call from the agent who recruited Wanja informing her that her health was deteriorating. She would later be informed that Wanja had died from a fall.
“On September 22, I was called and informed that my sister had fallen and fainted while bathing. She was rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU) in an ambulance but half an hour later I was told she had died. I have many questions. First, we were told she died after a fall. Later they said it was cardiopulmonary arrest, lastly we were told it was Covid-19. We don’t know what transpired,” Ms Willy told the daily.
The family is now planning to conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
This comes days after National Assembly Committee on Labour and Social Welfare revealed that 89 Kenyan domestic workers had died in Saudi Arabia between 2019 and 2021.
According to the committee chairman and Mwea MP, Wachira Kabinga, the victims died in road accidents while others died of heart attacks among other illnesses.
“Due to the high temperatures most of them died from heart attacks,” he said.
MP Kabinga stated that 200 domestic workers were being held in deportation camps after running away from their employers’ homes due to disagreements.
“Five are hospitalized. One of them has been held in the hospital for over six years,” he added, as he urged the government to deal with the mistreatment of its citizens working in the Middle East.
He also averred that 90 per cent of Kenyan domestic workers have been sexually harassed.
“Just like the Philippines, Kenya should work on clear policies to come up with solutions between Kenyan domestic workers and their employers in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
In Saudi Arabia, there are 120,000 Kenyans, United Arab Emirates (53,000) while 35,000 work in Qatar. In Bahrain there are 7,000, Oman 4,900, Kuwait 1,500 and Lebanon 900.