MAINTAINING & PERPETUATING THE KAFALA SYSTEM
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
Sponsor dumps the MDW onto the street
due to inability to pay the MDW's salary
An MDW escapes her Sponsor
and goes to a GS police station
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.
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.
November 11, 2017 | 6:10 pm
Dr. Jean and Dr. Lina Matar Don’t Pay Their Bills
The following is a testimony from Ednalyn Almazan, a Filipino woman who came to Lebanon in August 2014 to work for Dr. Lina Dakar Mattar, a dermatologist, and her husband Dr. Jean Maurice Mattar, an orthopedic surgeon. After two years of working for the Mattars, she asked to return home to the Philippines but her employers wouldn’t let her. She says she was not allowed any days off, and she says that she suffered physical abuse from her employer after she purchased her own ticket home. She left Lebanon in October 2017, having worked for them for over three years. To this day, she is owed $1,850.
October 31, 2017 | 1:19 pm
Emile Bou Farah and Elias El Murr, Sexual Predators
Below is the anonymised testimony from a domestic worker who came to Lebanon to work for a man named Emile Bou Farah in 2010. Her account details the sexual harassment she says she faced, and the physical abuse she witnessed at the Saliba Agency which employs domestic workers. She says that Emile Bou Farah preyed on her, made unwanted advances and sexually harassed her. Furthermore, she alleges that she worked 16 hour days and was only allowed to eat once a day.
August 21, 2017 | 7:34 pm
Dr. Boutros Bou Younes: Slaveholder, Owes $33,500 to Former Worker
Sonam Moktan, Nepali, came to Lebanon in early 2007 to work for brothers Boutros and Ghassan Bou Younes. Boutros was her employer, but she was handed over directly to his brother, Ghassan. She ended up enslaved for a period of 10 years. In her decade in Lebanon, she is alleged to have faced both physical and sexual abuse. She worked tirelessly, without any holidays or breaks. Her employers did not provide basic items such as clothing and sanitary protection. They told her that her entire family had died in the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. She had almost no contact with them for ten years.