A new NGO in Lebanon just seems to have it all figured out, or actually, not at all.
The Association to Protect Family Privacy and the Worker held a news conference earlier this week to point out how Lebanese housewives have become the victims of an "unfair" media campaign against the kafala system.
"We represent the voice of Lebanese women and housewives who feel this unfairness, and are offended [by how] these campaigns are distorting their image," said Maya Geara, a lawyer and founding member, according to The Dailystar.
The leaders of the organization were quick to point out how problematic the process of giving domestic workers rights would be.
“Imagine having a domestic worker that became a union member, and every other day tells you I have a meeting I want to attend ... Is this the worker that we want?”
Yes, it would be so inconvenient if your domestic workers were allowed the freedom to leave the house on occasion to meet with friends. They might even get ideas and start asking for higher wages! What's next?! Vacation days?!
Of course, this new NGO doesn't seem to care much about the facts.
Human Rights Watch reported in 2008 that an average of one domestic worker dies per week due to unnatural causes, namely abuse from their employer or suicide. Additionally, the kafala system has received wide criticism both within Lebanon and internationally, often referred to as "modern day slavery."
Currently there are some 250,000 documented foreign domestic workers employed under Lebanon's kafala system that fully ties the individual's legal status to their employer. Passports are often confiscated upon arrival by employers, workers are forced to work long hours without breaks, and sometimes even the meager wages provided by employers are withheld.
The system is literally so bad that the governments of Ethiopia, Nepal and the Philippines have banned their citizens from working in Lebanon.
Despite all these facts. The Lebanese women behind the new association are convinced they definitely can be victims too.
"Why should we always put the spotlight on the worker, when sometimes the housewife is wronged?” asked Helen Atala Geara.