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Security forces find dismembered body of Ethiopian migrant worker in Beirut

Published: Updated:

The severed body of a migrant Ethiopian worker was discovered in a bag placed on a road in Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Saturday, according to local media.
The bag contained the victim’s dismembered hands and feet. Other bags were being searched in the area that could contain other body parts.

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With a security cordon in place, the security forces have begun their investigation to uncover the circumstances of the migrant’s death.

Foreign domestic workers have been paying the price for the economic crisis in Lebanon due to the shortage of the dollar caused by an economic slowdown. Many domestic workers are demanding their salaries at a time when many Lebanese, who recruit them are unable to pay in dollars.

According to Reuters, thousands of foreign workers in Lebanon, some without legal documentation, are out of work and stranded. Their plight has been compounded by the deadly explosion at Beirut port on August 4.

Lebanon’s “kafala” sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers has come under fire by labor and human rights advocates, and long before the current crisis.

Deemed as a form of “modern day slavery” by Human Rights Watch, the kafala system excludes migrant workers from Lebanon’s labor laws and gives authority of their immigration status and employment to a sponsor (kafeel) instead.

The current legal framework for migrant workers ties the worker’s legal presence in the country to a specific employer. This person cannot change employer without the permission of the original one.

For over a year, Lebanese officials have embarked on discussions to overhaul the migrant sponsorship system. Talks have fresh urgency as anti-racism protests around the world have thrown a spotlight on the treatment of African immigrants in Lebanon.

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