Annie is a 20 year old girl from Kenya who is stuck in Lebanon. Her single mother died in an accident a few years ago, and she has been looked after by her older brother. Surviving on his jobs as a carpenter and a driver, they could only sometimes afford the tuition for Annie to study Engineering at the university in Nairobi. So when a recruiter told her she could make the needed money in Lebanon, she thought it was a godsend, and bravely traveled alone. When she arrived, her employers, a university professor and an event planner, forced her to work 19 hours a day, 7 days a week, without enough food, and refused to ever pay her after the first month. Annie has the legal right to return home within the first 3 months, but the family broke the contract by making her clean 3 houses, denying her food, accommodation and time off, and refused to let her leave when she chose to, 2 weeks in. When she asked to be paid, she was slapped and kicked and her life was threatened.
Read Annie's full story here and support her to a better, happier, faster future on this link.
Thank you all for the HUGE outpouring of support! Our Indiegogo fundraiser has made more funds in the last few days than in the last 2 weeks!! Due to this sudden upswing, the lovely people at indiegogo have kindly extended our campaign by a few days
"The [agency] informed me that the company does its best not to recruit maids who are prone to depression or are otherwise problematic. One rule of thumb is to avoid anyone who has worked in other Arab countries, 'where they treat maids like slaves'"
- What a horrible and telling statement - but at least it shows some self-awareness!
This is where a migrant worker employed by Sodeco Square lives. In one of their tiny toilet stalls. This violates the most basic human rights of any employee. Sodeco Square employers, it is shameful that you are not even upholding the extremely low-standard contract you signed, which made you responsible for ensuring "decent working conditions" and "accommodation". We see a lawsuit in your future! (Lebanese government, it is even more shameful that your employment contract is so vague and minimally protective that it can allow for slavery conditions!)
'Yesterday at the public toilet stalls of Sodeco Square (Beirut) we found this: the living quarters of the migrant worker employed to clean the premises. The last stall in the corner. Unbelievably tiny, BUT, with it's own toilet seat inside. The photos tell the rest. The woman herself was sitting outside the toilets. Sodeco Square is quite a large outfit, with many stores and offices renting space there. I'm sure they can afford to treat employees with decency and dignity.' - Muna Khalidi
'She worked for 22 years as a maid in Lebanon before deciding to resign and fully dedicate herself to the union. “How can I fight for my rights if I work all the time?” she asked. “Now we are only getting stronger. There is no answer from the government, but we will succeed,” she added before joining the stage and sing the new anthem of foreign workers in Lebanon: “Solidarity forever/The union makes us strong.”'