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.


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.


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.


October 31, 2017 | 1:19 pm

Emile Bou Farah and Elias El Murr, Sexual Predators

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 and Doctor who Owes $33,500 Dollars to Former Worker

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.

August 12, 2017 | 5:29 pm

Florence Njoki Wangari, Victim of Slavery at Lebanese American University

Cleaner of LAU Dorms is a Slave

Florence Njoki Wangari arrived in Lebanon from Kenya in June 2014 and left in June 2017. Her first 18 months’ salary were paid but the last 18 months remain unpaid. She repeatedly asked for her full salary, and was told in return that it was ‘in the bank’. Florence was sent back to Kenya for her father’s funeral with the promise of return, so she didn’t even take her clothes with her. When she contacted her employers from Kenya, they blocked her. She is still owed $3,000.