“I was kept as a slave for seven years in Beirut”

Meseret, Ethiopian migrant domestic worker in Lebanon

Thursday 8th October, Beirut International human rights NGO Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) has launched a ground-breaking slavery case in Lebanon. LAW represents Meseret, a 38-year-old migrant domestic worker who was kept as a slave in a Beirut apartment for seven years until 2019. She was locked inside the home without payment and subject to serious abuse and neglect. “Whenever I asked about my salary, my employer beat me,” Meseret says, now from her home in Ethiopia. Today, LAW has filed a case on her behalf in the Lebanese Criminal Court arguing she was subjected to slavery, slave trading, torture and racial discrimination.

LAW has also requested the court to hold the recruitment agency accountable for these crimes. It’s the first legal case of its kind to be filed in the country which operates under the notorious ‘kafala’ system.

This system provides no legal rights for migrant domestic workers and excludes them from general protections under Lebanese law.

LAW’s Executive Director Antonia Mulvey has praised Meseret for her courage in coming forward and telling her story. “Unfortunately, Meseret’s case is illustrative of a broader problem in Lebanon and the region. We are working with women who’ve been raped and brutally mistreated.

We know of others who died trying to escape their employer's homes.” Ms. Mulvey says the kafala system must be abolished, not only within Lebanon but the whole region.

“The kafala system must be called what it is – a system which promotes not only cheap and forced labour but slavery; slave trading and the systematic abuse of women.’” In the last few months following the economic crisis, COVID-19 restrictions, and the port explosion, huge numbers of women have been evicted from their homes without money or their passport.

Antonia Mulvey is available for an interview. Please contact LAW’s media adviser Eliza Harvey: [email protected] or +61488332806 (WhatsApp)

LAW is supported by UN Women and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon

آخر تاريخ التحديث: 
21/10/2020 - 4:55م
تاريخ النشر: 
الأربعاء, 21 أكتوبر 2020
قطاع(ات) التدخل: 
المناصرة والتوعية, القانون والشؤون القانونية
النطاق الجغرافي: 
International
الدول: 
Ethiopia
Lebanon
Signatories: 

Antonia Mulvey is available for an interview. Please contact LAW’s media adviser Eliza Harvey: [email protected] or +61488332806 (WhatsApp)

LAW is supported by UN Women and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon

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