Like many fellow jobless Africans, a young Kenyan woman had thought that she was on a journey to greener pastures in the Middle East. However, a conversation she struck with a Good Samaritan on a Turkish Airlines is what opened her eyes to the horror that probably awaited her.
The chance encounter saved Shantel Nyaboke, 21, from falling into the same trap many jobless Kenyans have fallen into in the past. It happened many miles away from home, inside a Turkey-bound flight.
Nyaboke had been of the idea that she was travelling to Qatar to take up domestic work. Yet she was in oblivion that her final destination was actually war-torn Iraq.
The Good Samaritan, who requested to remain anonymous, recounted how he and Nyaboke got talking and he realized that she was oblivious of the danger she was getting herself into.
"I'm traveling to the United States via Istanbul, Turkey. I strike up a conversation with a girl carrying an East Africa passport. She looked lost so I asked if she needed help," the man told Nairobi News.
As the conversation progressed, the man analysed the documents of Nyaboke. He was soon to discover that contrary to what she believed, her boarding pass and contract revealed that her destination was Iraq not Qatar.
As he went through her contract, he began noticing multiple anomalies that made him even more sceptical. Nyaboke's contract did not state her salary, expected working hours, and there was nowhere indicated whether she would have any off days.
The man moved on to advise Nyaboke that it was a bad deal and it was best for her to return to Kenya.
He later took her to the Turkish Airlines help desk where they pronised to get her a ticket back to Nairobi. The Good Samaritan, generous as ever, gave her some dollars for food and all the Kenyan Shillings he had on him for her to use when she got back home.
According to the Good Samaritan, Nyaboke doesn't appear to know much about Nairobi.
For that reason, he says he requested a few of his friends in Nairobi to ensure that she got home safely.
Nairobi News reported they had contacted Nyaboke's mother, who only identified herself as Tabitha, she expressed gratitude that her daughter was returning home safely.
"My daughter left home to seek greener pastures. If she ran into trouble, I will be happy when she returns home," said Tabitha.
Nyaboke may be fortunate to return home safely, but not many Kenyan women have been as lucky. It's a predicament many young Afican women have also found themselves in as they try to find a living in Middle East countries.
They have been reports of working in horrifying onditions akin to slavery. Women who have shared their ordeals have stated that one can go for close to three months or more without receiving any salary. A dispute with an employer has been reported to lead to incarceration or flogging with no option of getting justice for the Africans.
In 2014, Kenya moved to ban over 900 agencies that were recruiting women to the Middle East when reports of the working conditions began to emerge.
Header Image Credit: Nairobi News