And how does one explain the casual brutality of Ali Mahfouz? The agency system in Lebanon has always been corrupt and seriously lacking in regulation and transparency. The authoritarian and violent behavior of many of those operating placement agencies has been known and accepted for years. We know that recalcitrant workers can be returned to the agency for “corrective punishment” if the employers are unable or unwilling to do it themselves. And the financial exploitation of domestic workers by the agents, who take the first three months of their salaries, is scandalous and should be stopped, because it amounts to human trafficking.