Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Lebanese children are trafficked within the country for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual assault.
Maya was forced to work long hours in her employer's house, and in a shop in Lebanon where she was subjected to physical abuse by the people she was living with. After an incident of physical violence Maya was taken back to the agency. Despite repeated attempts to bring her back, Maya refused to return to the house.
I was very afraid, but had no other option than to stay at my workplace… I was forced to work both in the house and in a shop. I had to work for 18 hours a day, seven days a week. None of the people in the home were supportive, and I was tortured on many occasions and in different ways… At the end of my stay in Lebanon, the last day was terrible. My mistress was out until late at night, and I was again attacked by a family member in her absence… I shouted as loud as I could but he did not stop beating me. They even closed the door and did not let me go out. Afterwards, in severe pain, I could not contain myself and opened the door and shouted from the balcony. A neighbour heard me screaming. She ran to the house and asked the house owner to stop beating me. The neighbouring lady took me into her home, where I stayed for two days. Thereafter I was left at the agent’s office, where several times the house owner came to take me back but I refused to go with them. All I wanted was my life.
As told to researchers at Anti-Slavery International for their report 'Into the Unknown: Exploitation of Nepalese Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon'