Lebanon Migrant Workers

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American University of Beirut

Migrant Worker Abuse in Lebanon

Submitted by: Sandro Jazzar &Sara Chidiac

Submitted to: Ms. Zane Sinno

Date: May 18, 2012

English 208
Table of Contents

I- Executive Summary…………………………………………………………………2 II-Background3
A.History3
B.Cases4
III-Awareness6
A.The Media6
B.Benefits7
C. Statistics…………………………………………………………………………………………………8 D.Lebanon’s Image9
IV-Failure to Provide Accountability10
A.Racism10
B.Criminal Cases11
V-Solutions12
A.Migrant Workers Task Force12
B.Police Training12
C.Court Appointed Lawyers13
D.Contract14
VI-Criteria for Evaluation15
A.Effectiveness15
B.Cost15
C.Feasibility16
VII-References17

I- Executive Summary

Almost every household in Lebanon benefits from the help of a domestic worker making their lives easier. According to statistics there are “more than 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, of which only around 114,000 possess valid work permits” which constitutes almost 20% of the Lebanese population. It is high time for them to be heard and considered. With several suicides per day, huge rates of complaints and several women injured every week the urgency of the matter reaches its maximum. The first step of this battle against domestic abuse would be awareness, if the general audience is aware, then the pressure groups and NGO’s can start a more concrete plan. Media is one of the main tools used to raise awareness and LBC a national TV station is very involved in the matter “broadcasted several videos of a worker being abused (MWTaskForce, 2012)”. Also advertising and billboards put up by the NGO’s are a very good way of getting people’s attention. The only issue with media and advertising is that on an international scale the image of Lebanon is affected negatively which could cause the economy to decrease. The lack of legal action and the leniency towards violence and abuse in Lebanon has caused a growth of racism in the minds of the people working in domestic workers trade and offices and even worse in the minds of some households. ”HRW (2010) discusses legal activity dealing with migrant domestic workers, pointing out that only 26% of courtroom appearances of migrant workers are situations where they are plaintiffs” Many solutions are being put in place or thought of and will hopefully be working hard on reducing these abuse rates to a minimum. First NGO’s like Migrant Workers Task Force who try to raise awareness and put pressure on the government. Training the police to be the right example and penalize law enforcement correctly is another way of fighting back. Also court appointed lawyers could help the workers actually have a “legal voice” and build a case against their abusers. Finally contracts, is the most simple and easy way to make a change by assigning more rights to the worker and less to the employer with precise contents and duration. II- Background

We encounter domestic workers everyday of our lives. Whether they are working at our homes or some other place we visit, we all come across these hard working people, whose job is to make our lives a lot easier.

A. History

The concept of emigration with the intent of gathering funds and sending them to one’s family has existed for a long time, and in almost all civilizations. Even the Lebanese, and most notably during the First World War, as expressed in the high school history books, were greatly dependent on the funds sent by emigrants to their families. So how in the world did that dependence on our children working as migrant workers make way for our belittling the migrant workers employed in our houses and/or buildings today? Have we become hypocrites? The earliest examples of migrant domestic workers were cases where the workers...
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