CNN expose published
In July 2020, the CNN published an exposé that highlighted allegations of abuse and exploitation meted against Kenyan nationals by Consular staff in Beirut, Lebanon. The allegation include extortion, physical and verbal assault.
In August 4th 2020, an explosion happened in Beirut causing 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries, and US$15 billion in property damage, and leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless. Many migrant domestic workers were severely impacted.
Protests in Beirut
Following the explosion, a group of Kenyan migrant domestic workers organise a protest outside the Beirut consulate demanding repatriation from the government.
Delays in repatriation
The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy in Kuwait, responded to the issue by stating that it would process emergency travel certificates for Kenyan migrants in Beirut who did not have valid passports, and ensure that immigration-related penalties were waived for undocumented migrant workers. However there was much delay forcing Kenyans rto sleep in the streets in Beirut surviving on food and other donations from local wellwishers.
In September 2020, two Lebanese wellwishers rallied donations online and supported the repatriation of over 122 Kenyan women by purchasing their flight tickets, paying for their COVID-19 tests and obtaining immigration clearances.
Some Kenyans chose to remain in Lebanon to seek new employment opportunities. Others are stuck in their employers’ homes at risk of abuse and exploitation. Many of the returnees are facing financial challnges after months of being out of work or having their wages stolen by employers. Some are also traumatised, pregnant or returning with young children. Read their stories.