U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Lebanon
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Lebanon, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3c024.html [accessed 1 March 2015]|
Lebanon (Tier 2)
Lebanon is a destination country for the trafficking of Asians and Africans for the purpose of domestic servitude and for Eastern European and Syrian women trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Lebanese children are trafficked within the country for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia migrate to Lebanon legally, but often find themselves subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as domestic servants. Many suffer physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, threats, and withholding of passports. Eastern European and Syrian women come to Lebanon on "artiste" visas, but some become victims of forced prostitution.
The Government of Lebanon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In January 2006, the government established an inter-ministerial committee to address the rights of migrant workers. Nonetheless, Lebanon continues to lack a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and its record of criminal prosecutions of abusive employers and sex traffickers remained inadequate.
Lebanon did not significantly improve its record of trafficking prosecutions over the last year. Lebanon does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though it criminalizes trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation through Articles 523, 526, and 527 of its Penal Code. Lebanese law does not, however, prohibit trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation. The penalties for sex trafficking are not commensurate with those for other grave crimes; while the crime of rape has a minimum penalty of five years' imprisonment, forcing a female into commercial sexual exploitation only carries a minimum prison sentence of one year. The government reported no prosecutions under Articles 523, 526, and 527. Seventeen prosecutions began in cases of abuse against migrant workers. Under its administrative laws, the Ministry of Labor closed 15 agencies for violations of workers' rights, including physical abuse, but often the perpetrators of the physical abuses were not criminally prosecuted due to the victims' refusal to press charges or due to a lack of evidence. In addition to increasing criminal prosecutions, the government should revise the punishments for trafficking violations under its laws to make them consistent with international standards.
The Lebanese government did not significantly improve protection of trafficking victims in the country over the last year. The government signed a memorandum of understanding with a local NGO to identify and refer potential trafficking victims to a safe house operated by the NGO. Nonetheless, the government failed to fully ensure that victims of trafficking are not inappropriately punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; for instance, many victims are still held in detention centers for the immigration violation of running away from their sponsors, and are deported before receiving protection. Victims are neither encouraged to participate in trials, nor offered legal alternatives to deportation to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. Lebanon should also permit workers to change employers without requiring permission from abusive sponsors.
Lebanon made little progress in the prevention of trafficking in persons. The government, in partnership with a local NGO, continues to distribute brochures highlighting workers' rights and remedies. Lebanon, however, continues to struggle with border management and the control of trafficking in persons and illegal migration.