Georgette, a migrant worker from Benin, speaks out about conditions for migrant workers in Lebanon for International Workers’ Day 2011.
In Lebanon today there are an estimated 1 million migrant workers, of which between 3 -400,000 are domestic workers. Even though they comprise nearly one-quarter of the Lebanese population, their voices and views are regularly silenced and their rights trampled upon because of their national origin, class, and race.
One-third of migrant domestic workers will never be allowed to leave the houses they work in during their time in Lebanon, more than one-third report being physically abused by their employers, and 40% are not allowed to have their own rooms. These figures reveal that Lebanon is in breach of all international conventions of the human rights of workers. This International Workers’ Day, the Migrant Workers Task Force is refocusing the issue of workers’ rights on migrant worker rights.
According to a 2008 Human Rights Watch Report, about 7-11% of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon suffer sexual harassment or abuse during their time in Lebanon, while over between 15-33% suffer physical violence.