Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Aster Goshu squints as she speaks quietly into the telephone’s digicam. “They lock me in the home when they leave,” she says in Arabic, talking in a frantic tone.
“I spend my days crying,” she provides, pointing to the darkish circles underneath her swollen eyes. “I’ve cried so much that I have trouble seeing things from a distance.”
“My employers say, ‘you Ethiopians will always be poor, what difference would it make?’” she provides, explaining that she’s solely acquired a wage for 3 months of the 4 years she is owed. “I beg you to help me escape this home.”
Eccoli lì, in tanti, una moltitudine. Sono stremati, dopo un lungo turno di lavoro e ore di protesta. Aspettano una decisione della monarchia araba che possa cambiare la loro vita, togliendo loro le moderne catene della schiavitù – che non sono di metallo, ma di burocrazia. Vengono da tutto il mondo, specialmente dall’Asia e dell’Africa. Tutti con il giubbotto arancione, che applaudono felici. Non sono tifosi ad una partita di calcio. Sono gli schiavi della Kafala che, a Doha ricevono la notizia che la legge sia stata riformata. Nei Paesi del Golfo Persico abitano circa 18 milioni di immigrati ufficiali su una popolazione totale di 42 milioni. Sono loro che si rallegrano per le riforme concesse dalle monarchie assolute dei paesi arabi.
Dodging pulped food and glass shards, I walk the narrow and winding streets of Beirut up a hill in Hamra, one of the city’s main commercial districts, to the Q Hotel, with its crumbling sign and exposed brick façade. I make my way to the third floor, room 304, where, between ancient cupboards and worn carpets, time seems to have stopped in the 1950s. Mariema — her back hunched, her blue shirt sagging, her face hollow — is lying on a bed with its crumpled sheet on the floor.
Migrant workers in Lebanon have been hit hard by its multiple crises and half of them left jobless, the U.N. warned Wednesday, calling for voluntary returns to be scaled up.
The combined effects of Lebanon’s economic collapse, the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s deadly Beirut port explosion have worsened already dire living conditions for migrant workers.
Horrific rights abuses against migrant domestic workers are being overshadowed amid an economic crisis in Lebanon We need your name – sign the open letter to Lebanon’s Ministry of Labour calling for better protections for domestic workers.
Thousands of families in Lebanon can no longer afford to buy food. Between a collapsing economy, damage to the capital following the port explosion last August, and soaring Covid-19 cases, Lebanon teeters on the brink.
While the social and economic climate has reduced the quality of life for everyone in the country, women and girls have been disproportionately affected in ways both obvious and invisible.