A Kenyan family is appealing for help after their daughter went missing in Saudi Arabia, where she works as a house help.
Agnes Wairimu, alias Shiro, last contacted her mother Josephine Wairimu on March 1, crying out for help, saying she had gone for days without a meal.
“Mum, please help me, I have not eaten for days,” she reportedly told her mother as quoted by the Nation.
Wairimu says her daughter went silent then she heard the voice of a man shouting in Arabic. That was the last time they heard from her.
The mother is pleading with the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to intervene and help rescue her first-born daughter, whom she fears is in danger.
“At this point, money is not important, I just want to see my daughter,” Wairimu told the Nation.
When she contacted the agency that facilitated her daughter’s travel to the Gulf state, the manager said Agnes should escape to the nearest police station.
“I talked to (the manager) and he told me to tell my daughter not to do her chores if her employers are not paying her. I got worried because from what I have heard and read, employers there are not good people and if she doesn’t do the chores, they will mistreat my daughter,” she added.
Agnes traveled to Saudi Arabia in June last year and everything was okay until she was reportedly moved to other houses.
“The household she was sent to was okay. She even used to send pictures. The employer had even thrown a birthday party for her,” Wairimu said.
“After the first month, she called me and said she had moved out of the house where she was working and had gone to another house. She didn’t say why, and because we were talking using the employer’s daughter’s phone, (Agnes) called me and said she would not be able to talk to me for a couple of days.”
Four months passed before her daughter contacted her again.
“She went silent. That’s when I started getting worried and decided to follow up with the agency. They promised me that they would follow up but they took me round and round,” says Wairimu.
“Every-time I called them, they said they had not received feedback from the Saudi Arabian Embassy. The agency told me that if I reached my daughter, I should tell her to run away to a police station, something that scared me.”
Although Acumen Agencies, which sent Agnes to Saudi Arabia, insist they have been following up on her case, Wairimu says she is fed up with their false promises.
“Hope. Hope. Hope. Hope and I cannot see any results, but now I want to see my daughter. If they are not paying her, she is not eating, she sleeps in corridors, why can’t they send back my daughter?” she posed.
Acumen Agencies manager Solomon Rohio, said: “I have talked to the family over this. However, sometimes there is a communication breakdown, but that does not mean we have neglected her.”
“She has been reported to be okay and we have reported to the labor (office) in Saudi Arabia and they are following up on that issue, and we have also followed up with the office, and the employer is the one who has been taking us back and forth,” he added.
Cases of Kenyan migrant workers, especially housemaids, dying under mysterious circumstances in Saudi Arabia have been on the rise in the last few years.