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Philippines Busts Lebanon-Bound Migrants Disguised as Nuns

On January 29, 2011

In one of the more bizarre stories we've seen recently relating to migrant labourers, the Philippine government has busted a group of Lebanon-bound migrant workers disguised as nuns in a bid to circumvent laws banning them from entering the country to domestic workers  (full story here).

"Their appearance aroused our suspicion especially after we noticed that one of them had red shoes, a colourful handbag and wore her nun's costume improperly" an airport immigration told the media.

The Philippines, one of the world's biggest exporters of domestic workers, has banned its nationals from working in Lebanon since 2007 because of frequent human rights abuses and a lack of legal protection for migrants. However, many undocumented migrants (mainly women) find their way into Lebanon each year by entering through a third country. The Philippines has refused to review the ban until Lebanon agrees to a bilateral labour agreement, or laws to protect Overseas Filippino Workers (OFWs) (see this story for more info).

We have blogged recently about human rights abuses of Philippine nationals in Lebanon - see here and  here.

Lebanon remains a risky location for female workers, but as the fake nuns story shows, many are still prepared to take the gamble...