Field report: Lebanese Domestic Workers


To secure the release of domestic worker and activist Roja Limbu from prison in Lebanon, and ensure she has legal representation.


In December 2016, two domestic workers, Sushila Rana and Roja Limbu, were arrested in Lebanon. Reports from our partners on the ground suggested that these arrests were due to the women’s support of domestic workers in the country. Unfortunately, Sushila was deported soon after her arrest, but we launched an urgent action campaign on behalf of Roja.

Sushila and Roja are founding members of the Domestic Workers’ Union in Lebanon – the first union of its kind in the Middle East, where the kefala system leaves many migrant workers vulnerable to domestic servitude. Sushila and Roja have dedicated their lives to standing up for domestic workers and supporting victims of domestic slavery. The Lebanese Government refuse to recognise the Union and have criminalised attempts by migrant workers to voice concerns.


The Freedom United community displayed their support for Roja with over 55,000 supporters signing our petition in just a few weeks. On 28 December, Roja was assigned legal representation. However, following initial successes, Roja was suddenly deported from Lebanon back to Nepal in February 2017. Roja shared this message with Freedom United supporters: “I am very thankful to all those generous and kind hearted supporters who signed [the] petition to support me. I hope they will also support other migrant domestic workers in future.”

Our partner in this campaign:

International Domestic Workers Federation

International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) is a membership-based global organization of domestic and household workers. Its objective is to build a strong, democratic and united domestic/household workers global organization to protect and advance domestic workers’ rights everywhere. As of July 2016, IDWF has 59 affiliates from 48 countries, with 500,897 domestic workers organized. Most of these are trade unions and others are associations and workers co-ops.