Date of Graduation

Winter 12-13-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Anne Louise Bartlett

Abstract

Kenya’s economy remains the regional leader within the East African Community (EAC) and among East African countries at large. However, political instability such as the 2007 post-election violence and the region’s social and political instability trickling into Kenya, have negatively affected the country’s economic growth. To bridge the economic gap, Kenyan women are seeking employment in the domestic service sector in the Gulf Countries, with Saudi Arabia being the most popular destination. At their destination countries, some domestic workers are subjected to various forms of abuse by their employers, leaving the worker without recourse due to the lack of legal structures outlining the rights of domestic workers. This research aims to investigate the motivation to migrate, the experience of the domestic worker once at the destination country, and the sending government’s role to protect its citizens.

To meet these objectives, I have gathered primary data by conducting in-depth interviews with returnees regarding their work experience. I also interviewed a government representative to understand the government’s role in protecting migrant domestic workers, and a recruitment agent to detail the recruitment and migration process. Findings indicate that despite the potential risk for abuse, women are likely to continue migrating to Gulf Countries as they are lured by the international wage differential. Unfortunately, most women end up being paid less than they were promised while in the country of origin, and the little they earn gets remitted back home,leaving them virtually empty handed in the destination country.

Comments

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary……………………………………………………........................... ii

Table of Contents …..…………………………………………………………………….. iii

Abbreviations ……...…………………………………………………………………….... v

Maps……………………………………………………………………………………….. vi

Acknowledgement……………………………………………………………………….. vii

Chapter One ………………….…………………………………………………….…..… 1

1.1Introduction……………………...…………………................…………………….......1

1.2 Research Questions ……………………………………………………...........….... 3

Chapter Two:Review of Secondary Literature ……………………………………....…. 5

2.1 Role of Racism…………………………....…………………………..…................... 7

2.1.1 Colonial Legacies …………………………………………… …..................…… 13

2.2 Emotional Labor ………………………………….…………………………............ 18

2.3 Valuation of Domestic Work …………………………………....................………. 23

2.4 Labor Legislation ………………………………………………………….........…... 31

Chapter Three: Migration Theories…………….................……..……..…................... 35

3.1 Push-Pull Factors ………………………………………………..................……… 36

3.2 Neo-classical Immigration Theory …………………………………..…........…..... 37

3.3 New Economic of Migration …………………………………………..................… 37

Chapter Four: Regulations of Migration and Domestic Work ………………….……. 39

4.1 International Instruments ………………………..…………….....................……... 39

4.2 Regional Agreements ……………………………………………………................ 42

4.3 Domestic Laws …………………………………………………………….............. 43

4.4 Bilateral Agreements ………………………………………………….......….......... 45

Chapter Five: Data Findings and Case Studies ………………………………….…... 47

5.1 Research Methodology …………………………………….………………............ 49

5.2 Limitation of the Study ………………………………………………………........... 50

Data Findings ……………………………………………………….............................. 51

5.3 Passport Confiscation ……………………………………………..…………......... 51

5.4 Physical Abuse ……………..............………………………………...…................ 52

5.5 Sexual Abuse ……………………………………………………………….........…. 53

5.6 Verbal Abuse ……………………………………….....………………………......... 55

5.7 Sleep Deprivation ……………………………………………….…......…...…........ 56

5.8 Food Deprivation ………………………………………………………................... 57

5.9 Labor Exploitation ………………………………………….....…...………….......... 59

5.10 Movement Restriction ………………………………………....………........……. 63

5.11 Imprisonment Prior to Deportation …………………….........…………........…… 64

5.12 Racism …………………………………………………….………………........…. 65

5.13 Religious Intolerance ……………………………………………………...........… 65

5.14 Psychological Abuse ……………………………………………………...........… 66

Chapter Six: Discussion and Recommendations ……………………………………. 67

6.1 Discussion …………………………………………....……………………..........… 67

6.2 Recommendations ………………………………………........………..............…. 76

Conclusion ………………….………………………………………..………………….. 79

References ……………………………………………………………………….….….. 84

Appendices ………………………………………………………………….........…..… 91