"An estimated 250,000 domestic workers reside in Lebanon, coming from a host of African and Southeast Asian countries. They are subject to the kafala system, a sponsorship structure that legally binds foreign workers to their local employers and which, according to Amnesty International, “increases their risk of suffering labor exploitation, forced labor and trafficking, and leaves them with little prospect of obtaining redress.” Most domestic workers earned monthly wages equating to between $150 and $300 before the country was hit by an economic recession in October 2019, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
On March 15, the Lebanese government announced a lockdown to prevent the COVID-19’s spread. Like elsewhere around the world, all non-essential businesses were shut and families summoned to stay home. For the country’s most vulnerable population, whose sources of income were already compromised by the ongoing economic crisis, this was another nail in the coffin."
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