The Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) now claims the video shared by trade unionist Francis Atwoli on Sunday, October 9, showing a woman allegedly breastfeeding puppies in Saudi Arabia is fake.
In a statement on Monday, ASMAK Secretary General Monica Mwema said the video was manipulated.
She claimed the video was pulled from a pornography site, edited and shared to fuel the narrative that Kenyan migrant workers in Gulf states are being mistreated.
Mwema further hit out at the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General over calls on the government to ban recruitment agencies taking Kenyan workers abroad, saying the remarks were unfortunate and careless.
“Atwoli was reacting to a non-existent, edited fake video, on national television. This is unfortunate, careless and cheap talk from a national leader,” Muema said.
She claimed most of the alleged cases of abuse in the Middle East reported in the Kenyan media are misleading.
“We don’t deny that there are cases of rogue agencies, rogue domestic workers and even rogue officials. But most of the cases shared on social media and carried by mainstream media are not true. We do our due diligence and have contrary evidence to what is always shared.”
“We as ASMAK always follow up on everything that happens under our watch and what we find out is totally different from what is reported,” she said further.
The woman in question is said to have travelled to Saudi in search of greener pastures after two months of giving birth and upon the realization of her employer, she was asked to feed the dogs.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Atwoli said Kenyan migrant workers in the gulf countries have been subjected to ‘indirect slavery’.
He suggested that the government should be involved in negotiating working terms for domestic workers.
"This is indirect slavery. I'm appealing to the new government to do what Kibaki did when Phyllis Kandie was Minister for labour. She banned employment agencies in Kenya.
"Let negotiations for immigrant workers to the Middle East from Kenya be government to government so people can do decent jobs. Some of these terms and conditions of services are dangerous and deny Kenyans dignity and respect. I appeal to President William Ruto to review issues related to outside employment as guided by the international labour organisation," Atwoli said in an interview with NTV.
At the same time, Atwoli pleaded with women to stay in the country with a small pay instead of travelling to the Arab nations.
"I'm appealing to young men and women, remain the way we are but keep our dignity, let us remain here as poor as we are. You better earn Ksh10,000 and remain here since jobs out there are demeaning," Atwoli pleaded.