“Sorry mama, I wasn’t able to bring you anything.” – Sajita Lama, migrant domestic worker returning to Nepal
Sajita Lama, a former migrant domestic worker who was stuck in Lebanon has managed to return to Nepal. Shockingly, she is owed nine years’ worth of wages from her employers who forced her to work for no pay.
The Freedom United community is urgently calling for Sajita to be paid her wages in full.
Sajita Lama’s call for justice
Sajita arrived in Lebanon in 2010. For the first year and nine months of her employment, she was paid for her domestic work in her employers’ home in Lebanon. But after that, her wages stopped. Sajita was forced to work for nine years with no pay, no days off, and her employers confiscated her legal documents so she couldn’t leave. Her contact with the outside world was completely cut off. She was trapped.
Lebanon’s kafala system
Under the exploitative kafala system in Lebanon, migrant domestic workers’ visa and legal status are tied to their employers. In practice, this empowers employers to exploit domestic workers and subject them to conditions amounting to modern slavery because they know that migrant domestic workers are unable to leave without risking detention and deportation.
What next for Sajita
After long negotiations and legal action, Sajita’s employers offered a settlement of a bank check that amounted to approximately $500, just 15 cents per day for her period of work under conditions that amount to domestic servitude.
Middle East Eye reports that Sajita has returned to Nepal but without compensation from her former employers. This is unacceptable – Sajita is owed around $22,000.
Over 9,000 in the Freedom United community are calling for justice for Sajita. Add your name to the campaign today.