After the collapse of the Lebanese economy, some Ethiopian maids were dropped in front of the country’s embassy in Beirut by their employers, who can no longer afford to pay their salaries.
The maids were left to sleep on the pavement of the country’s embassy after the ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which also caused the Lebanese currency to lose 70% of its value in the last six months.
The news agency DPA reported that there are about 250,000 migrant workers in Lebanon, many of whom are employed as domestic workers in many middle-class households. The Telegraph reported that a large proportion of the domestic workers employed in middle-class households are from Ethiopia, with the remainder coming from other African and Asian countries.
The first group of 34 women who were abandoned by employers outside the embassy were taken to a women’s shelter last week.
Huson Sayyah, the head of the foreign staff of the Beirut charity Caritas, said
“All 34 Ethiopian domestic workers who are stuck outside their embassy will be taken to the Caritas shelter later Thursday.
Footage obtained by BBC correspondent Martin Patience also captured the moment when three Ethiopian domestic workers were abandoned at the embassy within an hour. Farah Salka, director of the Lebanese anti-racism movement, told the BBC that the workers were living outside the labour laws and had no labour rights or protection.