The following ordeal of an abused Filipino worker is all too common in Lebanon. As we and others have documented, suicides by maids in Lebanon is an unfortunate result of this sort of abuse and feeling of helplessness.
Gina (not her real name) is a 21-year-old Filipina who was brought to work in Lebanon last months with a tourist visa by the an agency called "Tailor Maid". About three weeks after she started to work as a maid for a Lebanese family, her employer sexually assaulted her. Gina then attempted to escape by jumping off a balcony; during the jump she broke her foot. Gina who is staying with a friend now is desperate to return to the Philippines. Unfortunately, the "Tailor Maid" agency is refusing to hand her passport back to her until she pays them $2,000 for bringing her to Lebanon. Gina doesn't have that sum of money, especially considering the fact that she wasn't paid for her work in Lebanon.
Gina contacted the embassy but was told that they cannot extend any help to her. We have contacted the Philippine embassy in Beirut but haven't heard back from them. She is desperate and scared and wants to go back to her family in the Philippines.
Officially, the Philippines banned sending workers to Lebanon after the July 2006 war, however many workers, like Gina, have entered Lebanon with tourist visas. Recently the Philippine government announced plans to lift this ban.