Migrant Rights

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East

Video depicts shocking public abuse of an Ethiopian maid in Lebanon

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Mar 9 2012

Incredibly disturbing footage of Lebanese men beating an Ethiopian maid in broad daylight surfaced Thursday, eliciting shocked condemnations from around the world. The video shows the men - presumably employers - repeatedly beating and manhandling the woman in front of the Ethiopian embassy, eventually stuffing her enfeebled body into a car. Not one of the several onlookers intercedes to help the clearly anguishing woman.

The Lebanese ministry announced an investigation into the incident. However, the men's actions, as well as the as the inaction of the spectators, reflects an abominable crime that extends beyond the incident itself. Reports of violence and psychological abuse, facilitated by the Kafala system, emerge from Lebanon almost daily. The chronic degradation of foreign domestic workers has erupted into 'incidents' of public abuse in the past, but the government continues to neglect the social and legal sources of mistreatment.

Read reactions from viewers on here and here.

Update: Authorities have identified the primary culprit as Ali Mahfouz, according to LBCI. Unsurprisingly, Mahfouz claims the woman he beat is at fault.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East