November 27, 2022

Paull Ank Ford

Business Think different

‘They Called Me ‘Slave’: Beirut Blast Exposes Migrant Workers’ Plight in Mideast

BEIRUT—On a May morning last calendar year, Rosemary Nyambura fled the Lebanese residence the place she experienced worked as a maid for virtually a calendar year, leaving behind her passport, which her employer experienced confiscated.

But the 25-calendar year-previous Kenyan’s departure from one particular household—where she mentioned she experienced experienced abuse—led to one more traumatic chapter as a domestic worker in Lebanon.

Last thirty day period, a enormous blast at Beirut’s port showered Ms. Nyambura with dust and glass in the house of a fellow Kenyan who experienced hosted her since she remaining her occupation, and remaining her stranded on the road, continue to devoid of a passport and devoid of a usually means to return to Kenya.

The plight of migrant workers these kinds of as Ms. Nyambura has exposed the inequities of a labor process at the heart of the economies of Lebanon and much of the Center East.

The sponsorship process, identified as kafala, ties a perform visa and residency allow to an particular person employer. It provides the employer huge regulate about a worker’s destiny by figuring out if and when the worker can return house. In a lot of instances, workers’ passports are confiscated.