A short video clip has gathered momentum online after it showed a number of foreign domestic workers protesting in Lebanon in solidarity with a Kenyan national, who was abandoned by the owners of the house she worked at this week.
Translation: "A Lebanese woman throws her house worker with a bag of clothes."
According to the video description, the former employers of the middle-aged worker from Kenya left her near the Kenyan consulate in Beirut with a plastic bag in which her clothes were placed, before other foreign domestic workers assembled in a small protest, demanding fair conditions for their colleague and other house workers, who often report abuse in Lebanon.
In the video, domestic workers can be seen protesting the treatment of their Kenyan colleague, explaining that she was abandoned "even though she was sick."
Another woman can be seen holding the plastic bag used to collect clothes, saying that her friend was treated unfairly and that she wasn't even paid for the period she worked for her employer."
لبنانية تلقي خادمتها الكينية في الشارع بسبب الأزمة المعيشية pic.twitter.com/LGJw0qusvx— مشاهير`و`خرابيط! (@_jiif) August 20, 2020
Translation: "A Lebanese woman throws out her Kenyan house helper in the street because of the economic crisis."
Responding to the video, many social media users condemned the behavior of the Lebanese employer, saying that "despite the Lebanese acute economic depression, which has gotten only worse since the huge explosion that rocked the capital city earlier this month, nothing justifies treating domestic workers so inhumanely," calling on authorities to make sure the Kenyan lady and other workers, whose career is threatened, to be treated fairly or at least be allowed to travel to their home countries with dignity.
This comes only two weeks after Lebanese social media celebrated a South-Asian house worker, whose quick handling at the first moment of the explosion that hit Beirut earlier this month, saved a toddler from imminent death.
During the last few months and prior to the Coronavirus, Lebanon has been suffering economic and political unrest resulting in the local currency losing more than 60% of its value, in addition to many Lebanese people losing their source of income, which triggered nationwide protests calling for political change in October 2019.
Additionally, the country was struck by a massive near-apocalyptic explosion at Beirut's main port on the 4th of August, which destroyed several neighborhoods in the capital city, killing about 200 people, injuring and displacing thousands of others.
Topping a whole year of severe economic conditions, now a devastation worse than those caused by the civil war, who is to blame?!#lebanonblast #Lebanon #SocialMedia #LebanonExplosion #MiddleEasthttps://t.co/K9NNjRnqhT— Al Bawaba Node (@_thenode) August 5, 2020
In April and amid the COVID-19 outbreak, a Lebanese man was arrested after posting an ad on Facebook aiming to "sell" his Nigerian house worker and was later charged with human trafficking.
According to Human Rights Watch, the number of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon is estimated to be near 250k, most of whom come from African and East Asian countries.
Several labor organizations have been drawing attention to worsening living conditions suffered by those workers, due to racist attitudes and deteriorating economic conditions in the country; forcing many of them to work for longer hours and slashed salaries.
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