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Migrant Worker Abused in Lebanon Takes Life

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 00:17 AM EDT, 21 March 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon – An Ethiopian domestic worker, Alem Dechasa, was taken to a psychiatric hospital following an attempt by a group of Lebanese men to kidnap her outside the Ethiopian embassy.

First aired by Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), the video shows Dechasa lying on the ground, crying while her employer Ali Mahfouz’s repeatedly tries to drag her toward a waiting vehicle.

Asaminew Debelie Bonssa, Ethiopian general consul in Lebanon, told The Daily Star newspaper that Dechasa subsequently committed suicide by hanging herself, despite expressing a desire to return to Ethiopia.

The barbarity of the ill-treatment of migrant workers throughout the Middle East has been of grave concern to human rights watch groups. Many of these workers are in effect indentured servants who are treated more like slaves than domestic help.

Immigrants from Africa and Asia, come to Lebanon seeking opportunities to improve their lives but quickly become disillusioned. They discover that despite promises, Lebanese laws do not protect their rights, and as second class citizen’s they are not guaranteed basic healthcare, vacation, or equitable wages.

Additionally, because the sponsorship system ties the domestic worker to one employer, unscrupulous people can keep workers in bondage by withholding their passports, visas, and work permits ostensibly for ‘safe keeping.’

Rola Abimourched, program coordinator at KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation, spoke passionately about the Dechasa incident. We hope that this case may become the catalyst that galvanizes the Lebanese government to introduce stronger laws to protect migrant workers and other immigrants to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

One Comment on “Migrant Worker Abused in Lebanon Takes Life”

  1. eof737 Says:

    Another sad story… and I pray that this matter of immigrant abuse will be resolved… so sad again.

    Reply

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