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109 S/Leonean housemaids in Kuwait to be repatriated

- says Ambassador Kamara

February 12, 2016 By Patrick J. Kamara

Sierra Leone’s envoy to Kuwait, Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara
Sierra Leone’s envoy to Kuwait, Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara, has told journalists at the weekly press conference hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communications that some 109 Sierra Leonean housemaids are due to be repatriated to Sierra Leone because of torrid times in the tiny gulf nation.

He told pressmen that 50 of the young women who had sought greener pastures in Kuwait were already back in the country, while 32 have been deported and 16 await documentation.

Stories about ill-treatment of housemaids in the Middle East have been making the rounds on social and mainstream media, with alleged audio messages from women in apparent distress calling on the government to intervene and rescue them from harsh conditions.

But Ambassador Kamara declined knowledge of the employment of housemaids in Kuwait, noting that the embassy only had knowledge of 400 people that had travelled to the gulf state genuinely and that all housemaids with visa-20 tickets travelled to Kuwait without notifying the embassy.

“Most of those employed between 2006 and 2012 are there peacefully. They have residential permit and are carrying visa-18. They are about 400 of them,” he said.

The ambassador maintained that they were never consulted when private agencies recruited the housemaids to work in Kuwait.

“My embassy in Kuwait has no idea, no business absolutely in the recruitment process of the housemaids,” the envoy maintained. “They were recruited without our knowledge. Had we known, we would have given advice on the nature of the job.”

He said no sooner the embassy knew about the anomalies than they approached the Kuwaiti government to stop issuing visa-20 to Sierra Leoneans, and that in July 2015 his government did same.

He said when President Ernest Bai Koroma put a moratorium on travelling to Kuwait, many Sierra Leoneans instead used Guinea as alternate route.

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