“There is no regulation on their hours, so many women work from sunrise to midnight. They are poorly fed, forced to sleep on the balcony or kitchen floor and have their passports and phones confiscated. They are victims of modern slavery, and it’s a completely accepted part of Lebanese society. There is no sense of justice, no matter how bad they are treated.
Lucy, a 26-year-old teacher from Kholifa Mabang, a northern province of Sierra Leone, had just given birth when she was groomed by traffickers. They promised her double the salary she was earning at the time if she signed up to kafala. She faced gruelling working hours, endless abuse, months without any pay. One of her employers tried to electrocute her. When she returned to her sponsor desperate for help, they sequestered her for days without food or water. She was forced into another employer’s house before escaping to live on the street. Simultaneously, her husband in Sierra Leona cut ties, losing hope she would return.