Pregnant domestic worker hangs self in Lebanon
Published Thursday, June 13, 2013
An Ethiopian domestic worker committed suicide in the home of her employer in a town located in Mount Lebanon Wednesday, a security source said.
Naifa Niska Dalalti, 23 years old, was found in one of the house's bathrooms hung by a laundry line, the source said, in the town of Choueifat, 12 kilometers south of the capital Beirut.
Security authorities appeared at the scene to give an account on the body and begin investigations in the presence of a medical examiner.
Dalati was found to be six months pregnant, the medical examiner revealed after inspecting the body.
Domestic workers in Lebanon work under the slavery-like sponsorship system, or kafala, which legally ties the worker to a specific employer. The system forces the employee to remain with the same employer throughout the duration of the contract.
Frequent and rarely-recorded employer abuse leads some workers to take drastic measures.
Human Rights Watch documented an average of one death a week due to unnatural causes during 2008, which included suicides and falls from buildings. No official count has taken place since.
The organization has also reported that Lebanon has a very poor record of punishing those who abuse their employees.
Domestic workers are not covered by Lebanese labor laws, meaning that they have no minimum wage and no social security.
A popular blog run by activists called Ethiopian Suicides documents the abuse, killings and suicides of these workers in Lebanon.