U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Lebanon
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||11 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Lebanon, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7d022.html [accessed 30 May 2015]|
Lebanon (Tier 2)
Lebanon is a destination country for persons, primarily women from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, trafficked to work as domestics. Many trafficking victims voluntarily and legally travel to Lebanon in search of work, but are put into situations of coerced labor. In such situations, they often endure extreme working conditions or physical abuse. Employers sometimes physically or sexually abuse domestics. To a lesser extent, women who travel from Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria to Lebanon are forced into commercial sexual exploitation.
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. The government's strengths in combating trafficking are in the area of prevention. The areas of protection and prosecution, including law enforcement coordination with source countries, need to be expanded.
The Ministry of Labor meets regularly with source country embassies to ensure that workers are aware of new employment agency regulations and the "complaint line" for reporting violations. Lebanon and Sri Lanka established a training program for Sri Lankan domestics bound for Lebanon. Two offices are open (and three more are planned). The Labor Ministry is working with Ethiopia to develop a similar program, which once established might be a worthy prevention measure. The Prime Minister engaged two human rights lawyers to draft a pamphlet defining trafficking, outlining the complaint process, providing contact information for government agencies, law enforcement, and non-governmental organizations. Officials will distribute it to migrant workers upon their arrival at the airport.
Lebanon does not have a law criminalizing trafficking in persons. However, the Penal Code criminalizes the deprivation of personal freedom of others by abduction or other means. The Ministry of Labor refers cases of abuse reported to its complaint line to law enforcement for investigation and prosecution. It also enacted regulations prohibiting employment agencies from withholding foreign workers' passports for any reason and specifically defining sponsors' responsibilities with regard to the treatment of domestics. In 2002, 18 employment agencies were closed for non-compliance with these new regulations. The Surete Generale actively investigates adult clubs employing "artistes" from Eastern Europe and issues warnings to those who do not comply with regulations. Last year it issued 20 warnings and closed one club. There are no indications that government officials condone or facilitate trafficking.
The government does not provide protection to victims, but does cooperate with non-governmental organizations that provide victim services. The Surete General allows NGOs access to the Retention Center for Foreign Persons to provide legal assistance, counseling and medical care to foreign workers. Victims may file civil suits or seek legal action. The government signed agreements with intergovernmental organizations to assist in repatriating illegal workers. Employers must show proof of health insurance for their employees every year to renew work permits. In addition, prospective employers of domestics must pay a deposit to the government that can be used for repatriation.