LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) -There is a big sigh of relief among parents, relatives and guardians whose daughters were stranded in Kuwait: the Malawi Government facilitated in the repatriation of 60 Malawian young women.
The 60 Malawian young women were said to be stranded in that country after their passports were confiscated by their employers upon arrival in Kuwait.
Through the Malawi government intervention, the young women were released from Kuwait on March 3, 2017 and arrived at Kamuzu International Airport on March 4, 2017.
Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Ministry Spokesperson Rejoice Shumba, confirmed this to The Maravi Post on Wednesday, saying the ladies have safely joined their families.
Shumba said that all stranded young women have been released and returned to the country with the help of the Kuwait government as was agreed last year.
“It’s indeed that last group of the Malawians ladies that were trafficked to Kuwait, has now been released to Malawi on March 3 and arrived home on March 4, 2017.
The girls are believed to have been trafficked to Kuwait while being assured of employment. But, upon arrival in that country, they were entangled in domestic work such as being house maids.
The stranded Malawians young women are said be have been subjected to various torture including working long hours (usually in excess of 16 because the houses are very big and accommodate several families), working in confinement without being allowed to go outside of the house, and being forced to eat food remains or expired food as a meal.
The Malawian girls also received reduced wages and I some cases, no payment. Their identity and travel documents were retained by their employers. They also complained of verbal, physical, and sometimes sexual abuse.
After the disclosure of the girls’ torture, the girls were transferred to and kept at the Kuwait Government Holding Shelter awaiting repatriation back to Malawi.
Following reports of the girls’ torture, the Malawi government in conjunction with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Social Affairs, suspended the issuance of Visa 20, which is granted to domestic workers or housemaids.
This was aimed at excluding the recruitment of housemaids from Malawi to work in Kuwait, while initiating discussions on the formulation of a Bilateral Labor Agreement as a framework for regulating labor migration from Malawi to Kuwait and also as a framework for engagement on issues of mutual concern.
Last year, Labor, Youth and Manpower Development minister, Henry Mussa, assured the general public that all logistical arrangements were in place to repatriate the young Malawi girls.
Minister Mussa emphasized the need for Malawians to follow immigration and labor laws when seeking international jobs.
Mussa disclosed that currently his ministry is formulating laws on immigration and labor which will crackdown fraudulent recruiting agencies operating in Malawi which are traffickers.