Witness: “I’m being held as a slave in Lebanon” – #NabatiehSlaves

Image released on Koaci.com
Image released on Koaci.com

Ivory Coast-based Koaci.com has learned that 6 women are currently held in slavery conditions in Nabatieh, South Lebanon within a “Mafia-like” network. The following is a rough English translation of the original article in French written 3 days ago.

Two Togolese, two Burkinabé and two Ghanaian have been kidnapped for the past week [now 10 days] and have been severely beaten in Nabatieh, South Lebanon, we’ve learned following the testimony of the two who have been able to reach Koaci.com’s Ivory Coast office (The number is +225 08 85 52 93).

Everything started when they attempted to escape their condition after realizing that they were tricked by a recruiting network that works in the African continent to provide cheap domestic workers in a country with a culture that considers blacks like sub-humans as we have noticed in all African countries where these recruiters are located.

“I want to go home. They’ve taken me 3 times at the “Mafia bureau” [her words] to be corporeally punished because I’ve deemed living with ‘Madame’ to be intolerable”, one of them, a Togolese, told us Saturday night over the telephone whose phone was confiscated after her ‘Madam’ found out she called us. “They’ve slapped me severely and have punished me physically numerous times before taking me to an old house with other women, also kidnapped, who wanted, like me, to stop working at their ‘Madam’. She’s 24 years old.

Since then, it has been impossible for us to remain in contact with our contact, who contacted us on this number: 00961 76 527 363. She also told us that on the 12th of March (last week), she met 5 others in the “bureau”, place which apparently serves as base for these operations.

“They’ve sold us in this country” she told us while crying, adding: “we have school and university diplomas and we were told that we were simply going to work here, but they made us slaves.”

When we asked her about the network, the victim had time to give us a name: a certain Safi Kamal who, according to her, is the head of the network. He apparently responds to the following number: 00961 03 764 569 [I confirm that that name is associated with the number via TrueCaller]. When we tried to contact him, he immediately hang up on us as soon as we mentioned the victims.

An hour later, the second Togolese, no doubt motivated by her Koacinaute compatriot, tried to contact us from this number: 00961 76 894 434 [TrueCaller name: Ahmad Saad]. The conversation would last only 45 seconds when we heard men yelling and the woman’s “No! Don’t hit me!” before hanging up.

Here again, it would be impossible to stay in contact with the 2nd victim, aged 25 years old and from Lome.

Her last sentence would be: “I’m sorry. Please do something to let me be with my family in Africa.”

If African slavery in Lebanon which works by promising job opportunities isn’t new, the silence of authorities as well as of Human Rights NGOs is as worrisome as the victims’ pain.

Written by Akissi Kouamé

This is an urgent post. I’m contacting several NGOs and will update as soon as I get anything. A big thank you to my sister June for breaking the story on Facebook. I will be adding everything here as well as on Twitter under the hashtag #NabatiehSlaves

Update 20/3/2014

Dalal Mawad reports on the Nabatieh Slaves for LBC (Arabic)

Quick summary: In addition to the information presented above, Dalal interviews Safi Kamal who, of course, denies everything. She then reveals a previous phone call in which she faked being interested in hiring a maid. Safi Kamal assures her that the maid will be completely obedient and that if she disobeys, he’ll “take care of her.”

You can also follow me on Twitter @JoeyAyoub

13 thoughts on “Witness: “I’m being held as a slave in Lebanon” – #NabatiehSlaves

  1. This is horrible. I mean, I’ve always known that domestic workers in general are often treated worse than animals but this is almost a new low. Really hope that more come forward so the bastard behind this thing gets caught and his whole organization burned to the ground, literally and figuratively.

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