Lebanon closes down recruitment agencies for "violating human rights"

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Friday, October 10, 2014

Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi Friday ordered the closure of two domestic worker recruitment agencies in southern Lebanon for violating human rights and breaking regulations.

According to National News Agency (NNA), Azzi asserted that he will not hesitate to adopt similar measures against any agency that violates labor laws or advocates the ill-treatment of workers.

Human rights organizations are determined to put an end to a wide range of human rights violations practiced by recruitment agencies in Lebanon and experienced by more than a quarter of a million migrant domestic workers – about five percent of Lebanon’s population.

According to a report by the rights organization KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, titled, “Dreams for sale: The Exploitation of Domestic Workers from Recruitment in Nepal and Bangladesh to Working in Lebanon,” and published on September 8, most migrant domestic workers are coerced to work and live in conditions that rarely match what deceptive recruitment agencies in their home countries promised them.

Upon the workers’ arrival, the kafala system – which puts far too much power in the hands of the employer-sponsor – traps them in exploitative situations as they forfeit any legal status if they decide to leave their workplace.

Overall, human rights organizations and activists have succeeded in highlighting the plight of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, and pressured modest changes both in court and parliament. However, the road toward justice for these exploited workers remains far.

(Al-Akhbar)

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