Press attaché to Kuwait Alhaji Jalloh has in media statement indicted the Ministry of Labour of shady deals that led to the marketing of Sierra Leonean girls to slavery and penury; serving as housemaids to their masters in Kuwait.
Jalloh according the Patriotic Vanguard was quoted to have said in a statement that the Embassy in Kuwait was not aware of the arrival of the housemaids in Kuwait even though the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Labour is said to ‘have taken part in their processing initiated by local middlemen on behalf of shady entrepreneurs in Kuwait itself, acting on behalf of Kuwaiti employers’.
According to the article, ‘the government of Sierra Leone needs to step in immediately to review the situation of Sierra Leonean housemaids in Kuwait to avoid any rift between the two countries’.
A press release from the Sierra Leone embassy states that some housemaids in Kuwait are being maltreated by their employers and some have been actually deported back to Sierra Leone because they had escaped from the homes of their employers called “Kafils” (absconding by housemaids is a crime in Kuwait) while others were sent home through the help of embassy officials.
At least 60 of them are back in Sierra Leone.
This issue first hit social media a couple of months ago and since then to now the Ministries of Labour and Foreign Affairs which are obviously aware of the deal have not issued a statement to clarify matters.
Perhaps now is the time to do so since some of the escapee housemaids are working clandestinely in restaurants and other places. If caught by the Kuwaiti government they will be deported immediately.
Sierra Leone’s ambassador to Kuwait, Abu Bakarr Kamara (photo) has vigorously denied being aware of who and what brought the housemaids to Kuwait and when they even arrived since his embassy was not informed or consulted.
There have been stories of Sierra Leoneans being conned by unscrupulous agents pretending to find lucrative jobs for them (for a hefty fee) in some Western countries including Canada.
A favourite destination for maids is Middle Eastern and Arab countries.
Stories of abuse of Sierra Leonean housemaids and nannies often come from Lebanon. The Kuwait incident is relatively new.
Neighbouring Liberia also faces a similar problem where allegedly abused Liberian housemaids from Lebanon where flown home recently on government expense.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has promised an investigation and prosecution of culprits especially those within Liberia.
The Patriotic Vanguard has also learnt that there are Sierra Leoneans working in usually menial jobs in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They were recruited by private agents in Sierra Leone on behalf of foreign companies in those countries.
In Kuwait, Ambassador Kamara as urged his home government to quickly investigate the housemaid issue by interrogating the former housemaids who are currently in Sierra Leone in order not to damage the excellent relations between the two countries.
Sierra Leone established diplomatic relations with Kuwait in 1980.