26 March 2015

Lebanon’s maid trade is modified slavery

Al Jazeera America

When I checked in online recently for a Lufthansa flight to Beirut, a pop-up window prompted me to confirm my compliance with two important Lebanese entry regulations. The first was that “holders of passports containing any Israeli visa or stamp will be refused entry” — understandable, given Lebanon’s acute Israeli spy problem.
The second was that “maids must ensure that their passport includes a departure stamp issued by the country they departed from.” This regulation targeting maids (or, as we call them in polite conversation, domestic workers) highlights one of Lebanon’s many social afflictions: the relegation of a substantial portion of the population to an inferior tier of existence.
According to the International Labor Organization, there are more than 250,000 female immigrant domestic workers in Lebanon, a country that had a population of just 4 million before the recent influx of displaced Syrians. These refugees have now joined immigrant laborers, sanitation workers and others on the lowest rung of Lebanese society. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA AMERICA.