GENERAL SECURITY

MAINTAINING & PERPETUATING THE KAFALA SYSTEM

General Security Harassing Migrant Domestic Workers

General Security (GS) in Lebanon are integral to maintaining and perpetuating the Kafala system and regularly imprison Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs). Despite having flight tickets, GS have been consistently blocking women from leaving and often detaining them on unreasonable grounds. Furthermore, GS is the primary actor in the implementation and maintenance of the Kafala system, especially of its worst abuses. GS, alongside the Lebanese judiciary, has been actively placing obstacles in the repatriation process such as charging unnecessary fees for documents/tickets, and preventing workers from flying home due to baseless accusations from employers.

GENERAL SECURITY OBSTRUCTS REPATRIATION IN THREE KEY SCENARIOS


An MDW escapes her Sponsor

and makes it to her consulate

  1. The Sponsor files a complaint with General Security (GS) because the Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) is seen as property in breach of contract.
  2. The Sponsor accuses MDW of theft, attempted murder or of some other crime to create a false record of criminal activity.
  3. MDW secures air tickets and travel documents. Upon arrival at the airport, GS detains the MDW for anywhere ranging from a few hours to an indefinite period of time.

Sponsor dumps the MDW onto the street

due to inability to pay the MDW's salary

  1. The Sponsor sees themselves as liable for the worker.
  2. The Sponsor attempts to skirt this supposed liability by filing a false complaint of theft, attempted murder, etc. as an impetus for abandonment and creates a false record of criminal activity.
  3. MDW secures air tickets and travel documents. Upon arrival at the airport, GS detains the MDW for anywhere ranging from a few hours to an indefinite period of time.

An MDW escapes her Sponsor

and goes to a GS police station

  1. MDW tells GS about her circumstances, whether she was raped, enslaved, physically abused, overworked, tortured, or forced to work with an untreated illness or injury.
  2. GS sees the worker as “lost” property of the Sponsor, and returns the worker to the Sponsor.

MDW’s are stripped of their passports upon entering Lebanon, so in all three scenarios, 94% have no access to identification and are rendered nationless, exposed to hunger and disease and denied representation.

The Sponsor is not held to account for the safety of the MDW.

SO, WHAT?

Due to the ongoing, unreasonable detention and deteriorating conditions for migrant workers, we support the immediate evacuation of vulnerable migrant workers in Lebanon.


This is the central goal of our #SendUsHome campaign.

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) plays a minimal role in Kafala. MDWs are excluded from the Labour law and the MOL does not conduct investigations and repeatedly fails to answer their hotline set up to help migrant workers and if they do, little is done to offer practical advice.

In order to send migrant workers home, ThisIsLebanon is calling for

GS to end all restrictions on the repatriation process for MDWs in Lebanon, as well as to speed up all procedures within their mandate.

BRIEFINGS


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