African workers in Lebanon are stuck and unpaid by an exploitative labor system worsened by Covid.

The future for Yemi, a Nigerian former student, was laid out in a contract written in Arabic which she signed in an office in Lagos in June 2019 to enable a recruitment agency bring her to work in Lebanon.

But once in Lebanon, she kept on being forced to change employment after a short while—as many as three times. The first family she worked for physically assaulted her, she says. There were regular beatings. In the next job one member of the family tried to sexually abuse her so she escaped. Instead of protecting her, the recruitment agency reassigned her to a third family.

Now, she works for a family that treats her better. However, the agency keeps her salaries because families she worked for paid directly to the agency, and she has to continue to work until the end of the contract to support her mother back home.

English | October 30, 2021



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