The Anti-trafficking and Exploitation Unit at KAFA works on building an opinion against trafficking and exploitation of two groups of women vulnerable to these forms of violence: women migrant domestic workers and women in prostitution.
The Unit also calls for a better legal and social protection for victims and women and girls at risk.
Several approaches are used to reach these objectives, such as: advocacy work, research, awareness-raising activities, capacity building and community support, and service providing to victims.
After they were locked in the homes of their employer under the Kafala (sponsorship) system; domestic workers are now stranded in Lebanon as a result of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Lebanon has turned into a large prison far away from their own home.
In April, a Nigerian domestic worker, who has been in Lebanon for three months, threw herself from the window. Her fall resulted in numerous bone fractures and she had to be taken to a hospital. She suffered from a mental disorder according to the investigation led upon Kafa’s request. After having spent a week at the hospital, she couldn't extend her stay since her insurance company stopped covering the fees and there was no association willing to do so.
My name is Mahi; I am 22 years old, and I am from Ethiopia. I came to Lebanon in 2017 to work as a domestic worker because I wanted to save some money to continue my education.
Throughout her five months of domestic servitude, Tina was subjected to various forms of physical and psychological violence including detention, degrading treatment, humiliation, shouting and beating. Although she was able to free herself by leaving the sponsor's home, she is still tied by the shackles of the sponsorship system that require her abusive sponsor to sign a "waiver" before she can work somewhere else. Otherwise, she is forced to return home empty-handed. This sponsorship system is a modern system of slavery in its most extreme forms.
On February 1st 2018, KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation launched a media campaign* entitled “Think about it, think about her”* targeting Lebanese employers of migrant domestic workers (MDWs), as a continuation of its 2016 campaign highlighting employers’ perceptions of MDWs.
For the eighth year in a row, migrant domestic workers (MDWs) and supporters came together to claim labor rights, march, and celebrate workers' day. This past year did not witness any improvement of protection of migrant domestic workers. On the contrary, we have seen the abuses continue against the lives, rights and freedoms of MDWs, while the abusers still enjoyed impunity.
Five years ago, domestic workers took to the streets of Beirut to celebrate Workers’ Day for the first time in public. Years of struggling for basic human and labor rights have passed, but no change has been made to the legal system yet. However, this year is different. Last January, Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) announced the naissance of their own union, titled the “General Union for Workers in the Cleaning and Care Sectors”, in which MDWs are represented by a committee.
In three unrelated incidents, three Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon have died or been seriously injured in the last week. The Migrant Domestic Workers Coordination Consortium (MDWCC) and other civil society NGOs demand rigorous and serious investigations into the three cases and in all cases of Migrant Domestic Workers’ death or serious injury.