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Lebanon: The minister of Labor vows to tackle the sponsorship system and the rule-breaking recruitment agencies trapping migrant workers

"How migrant workers have become victims of ‘modern slavery’ in Lebanon", 2nd of May 2019

For decades, migrant domestic workers in Lebanon have complained of rampant abuse at the hands of their employers. The underlying cause of these abuses has been known for just as long: the kafala(sponsorship) system – labor rules that tie the legal residency of migrant domestic workers to their employers.

In his first few months in charge, Camille Abousleiman, minister of Labour has vowed some changes. He has asked the most active NGOs working on the issue to form a committee and give “practical recommendations” on what should change. He is working on plans to set up a 24/7 hotline for migrant domestic workers to report abuse (a hotline already exists, but rarely works). He is also planning to tackle rule-breaking recruitment agencies, which often ignore reports of abuse or are responsible for it themselves.