Facilitator and Attendees of a Workshop Training

 

With support from the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Verité continues work with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Kenya, civil society organizations, the Government of Kenya, recruitment industry actors, as well as employers in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to promote safe and fair migration between East Africa and GCC countries. This project recognizes that East African migrants to the GCC countries are among the most vulnerable, as East Africa has become the new frontier for recruiting labor for low wage jobs in GCC countries.

Research conducted by Verité and partners in the past year found evidence that East African workers in Qatar and UAE are exposed to conditions consistent with indicators of forced labor and human trafficking, including debt-linked recruitment, contract substitution, wage deception and other abuses.

Verité and partners IOM Kenya and the Fair Hiring Initiative recently held two training workshops in Nairobi to increase capacities of recruitment agents and government officials to promote safe and fair migration. Program Manager Sarah Lince spent much of February and March in Kenya and Qatar implementing trainings and engaging stakeholders to increase capacities of stakeholders to encourage development of implementation and enforcement of new legislation and bi-lateral agreements now in place aiming to protect Kenyan migrants taking foreign employment in GCC countries.

Training Recruitment Agents in Kenya:

In the last year, in a unique step forward in reforming labor recruitment regimes that contribute to risks faced by Kenyan migrant workers, an association of Kenyan private employment agents (PEAs) committing to ethical recruitment practices has been formed. The association, called ASMAK, was formally established in January 2018 with the election of a leadership secretariat. Verité and IOM Kenya have been supporting this new association through providing guidance, training, and consultation to develop member capacities on ethical recruitment practices to protect migrant workers. See more in the public announcement about ASMAK from IOM Kenya.

For the training held in February, we were delighted the Marie Apostol, Founder and CEO of the Fair Hiring Initiative, joined IOM Kenya and Verité to deliver a training on developing ethical recruitment business for ASMAK members in Nairobi. ASMAK members reported that bringing Marie’s lessons from South East Asian ethical recruitment business development to the East Africa context was valuable and insightful. Marie brought expertise and many years of experience in the ethical recruitment industry to the training, as well as excitement for potential to build an ethical recruitment market between Kenya and GCC countries, particularly at the early stages of development of the East Africa-GCC labor migration corridor. Verité and other experts expect labor migration to GCC countries to increase in the coming years, underscoring the importance of establishing initiatives to promote safe and fair migration at this stage.

 

Training Government Officials in Kenya:

Verité and IOM Kenya also held a training on promoting safe and fair migration for Government of Kenya members of the National Migration Coordination Mechanism (NMCM).The training focused on developing mechanisms for greater cooperation, information sharing and data collection across the NMCM ministries.

For more information about this initiative, please contact Sarah Lince.

 

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