On September 8, KAFA (Enough) Violence Against Women (Lebanon) released a report entitled “Dreams for Sale: The Exploitation of Domestic Workers from Recruitment in Nepal and Bangladesh to Working in Lebanon.” This report examines the processes and practices pertaining to the recruitment of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) from Nepal and Bangladesh and explores their work and living conditions in Lebanon.
The report found that those MDWs interviewed as part of this study are victims of practices that are akin to human trafficking and forced labor. Private agents, particularly non-licensed brokers, recruit workers within the context of a weak regulatory environment in the country of origin where legal procedures are not properly implemented. The recruitment is often coupled with an abuse of the worker’s vulnerability and an absence of free and informed consent due to misinformation and deceit about work and living conditions. And together with the sponsorship system that regulates the MDWs’ residency and employment in Lebanon, the end result is a situation of multi-faceted exploitation of the migrant domestic worker.
The report and the findings are based on quantitative and qualitative research that included 65 semi-structured interviews with Bangladeshi and Nepali workers currently employed in Lebanon and others who have returned to their countries of origin. In addition, a survey of 100 MDWs of the same two countries was conducted in Lebanon in 2013. The research also included interviews with representatives of placement agencies, Lebanese employers, as well as public officials.