Al Jazeera America
June 2015

Lebanon's Immigrant domestic workers remain vulnerable to abuse

BEIRUT, LEBANON — At a meeting of domestic workers in the Wata El Msaytbeh neighborhood on a sleepy Sunday, 20 women from Asian and African countries gathered to do what seemed impossible just a few months ago: Create an action plan for a newly formed union to protect the rights of domestic workers.

In the Middle East, where domestic work is rarely classified as labor under the law, a formal proposal in late December for Lebanon’s government to form a union for domestic workers attracted international attention.

But little has changed since then, including what the women who work in people’s homes — cooking, cleaning and looking after children — say is their need for protection from unscrupulous recruiters and abusive employers.
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