Saturday, March 21, 2015

Migrant domestic workers are mothers too

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“On Mothers Day this year, remember thousands of moms from around the world are in Lebanon, far away from their kids, doing their best to provide for their families. 

All that, under horrible conditions that border on modern day slavery. This week alone, two domestic workers died of unnatural causes. On average, one domestic worker commits suicide in Lebanon every single week. May this Mothers Day be the last sad one for Lebanon's foreign domestic workers.”

MARCH, a Lebanese NGO fighting censorship and domestic violence, has decided to take on the issue of racism towards domestic workers.

There are around 200 000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. They come from the Philippines, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. They leave their poverty stricken villages and travel to Lebanon to work and earn enough money to send to their families back home. Even if the majority is well treated by the Lebanese they work for, many are living under unacceptable conditions and can be considered as modern day slaves.

According to the Walk Free Foundation, an organization aimed to end modern slavery in the world, there are an estimated 21 400 people in modern slavery in Lebanon.

This fight will be long and can only be won if there’s a true awakening of conscience in the Lebanese population. It’s time to give the migrant domestic workers the same rights as any foreigner working in Lebanon. And finally put a stop to the abomination of racism.

© Claude El Khal, 2015