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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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FIVE Kenyans plead for help after enduring months of forced labour in a foreign country

Five Kenyans in Malaysia desperately appeal for help after being coerced into forced labour.

Currently homeless and in utter need of help are Charles Macharia, Geoffrey Maina, David Kevin Ochola, Dickson Otieno, and Sospeter Ngahu. 

In April of this year, an agent who had promised them better job opportunities abroad facilitated their journey to Malaysia.

However, upon arrival in Malaysia, they were given over to a different agent who drove them to a shipping facility five hours away from Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital.

The 5 Kenyans were initially employed as casual laborers and fulfilled their responsibilities, only to find themselves unpaid at the end of the first month. 

They persisted despite this setback for four months without receiving any payment.

To make matters worse, they learned that the business only made payments through its Malaysian agent. 

During this period, their families struggled to send them meager amounts of money, barely enough to afford the most basic sustenance, such as rice.

As the delays in payment continued to mount, they finally mustered the courage to approach the agent to inquire about both their unpaid wages and their livelihood expenses. 

Regrettably, their attempt to seek assistance resulted in a harsh response, with the agent callously claiming to have purchased their services for a mere Ksh 156,000 each.

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Now, they find themselves compelled to scrounge for makeshift accommodations within the warehouse and resort to preparing their meals under the confined space of a stairwell.

Compounding their predicament, their termination from employment has led to accumulating fines for overstaying in Malaysia. Their most pressing distress is the mounting fines, given their inability to secure the necessary funds for purchasing tickets that would allow them to return home.

“Our families don’t have that kind of money, that is why we are stuck here. Each day they are accumulating debts and that means even when we get back home we are going to start from zero,” Sospeter Ngahu remarked via a video call interview to a Kenyan media station.

To make matters worse, their initial point of contact, David, has become unresponsive to their pleas for help. 

Efforts to seek assistance from the Kenyan embassy in Malaysia have proven futile, as they are confronted with the daunting requirement of clearing their fines and obtaining return tickets to Kenya before any assistance can be provided.

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