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Lebanon: “The rights of 90% of maids are violated”

On February 24, 2010

Lebanese television NBN aired a 22-minute interview, on the evening of Monday 22 February 2010, with Dr. Ahmad Ayash, head of a psycho-social studies center, and Mr. John Cassabli, owner of a business which bring maids to Lebanon.

The latter acknowledged the detrimental role of many businesses in the plight of migrant domestic workers. He gave the figure of 90% of migrant domestic workers whose rights are not respected – mistreatment or given one meal per day or etc. He also mentioned cases of rape or sexual enslavement.
He added (minute 19 of the recording which can be found here) the following:

“We are dealing with these case as if a cat died, or a pullet fell of the balcony. Allow me to say: not all of them are dying because of falling while cleaning windows. I just came from a meeting with the consul of Madagascar. He told me that 4 migrant workers died in one week in domestic accidents as if the houses are situated in the middle of highways and as if they were crushed by cars. The consul added that men in houses where they died are involved. I have no confirmation for this, but things are being covered up in police stations under the title of ‘suicide’. No further investigations are done, especially whether or not she was pushed to commit suicide.”

Ethiopian suicides comments: Mr. Cassabli’s remarks and acknowledgments are shocking. How many deaths of migrant domestic workers go unreported because they were not spectacular enough (jumping from the balcony or drinking detergent)? How did Mr. Cassabli reach the figure of “90% of maids are mistreated”?

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