I am grateful to one of the people who commented on my site “Black lives do matter and the only people on the other side of that divide are racist unfortunately”. .Well my argument is that I support all lives and especially those who are still at risk as regardless of the colour they need help.

One of the other comments was that “Yes, there is no longer slavery but racism is still very much alive”…well that gentleman is very wrong….it still does exist, very much so and it is affecting the already poorest people of the world and there is nobody marching for their rights, nobody marching to highlight their abuses. There is no privilege here and they are women who have been all but forgotten and their slavery is never ending….


The Chez Maurice case

It came as no great shock when, in 2016, news broke that 75 Syrian women had been trafficked and held captive in a Jounieh brothel for years. What became known as the “Chez Maurice case”, after the brothel in which they were held, only came to light because four women managed to escape. 

Legal Agenda, a Lebanese NGO that collected several testimonies from survivors of the Chez Maurice brothel, described the place as a “torture chamber”. I didn’t think there was a state [law and order] in Lebanon,” one of the trafficked women told Legal Agenda. “[One of the traffickers] told me that he bought the state with his money. I believed him the moment I was detained in the General Security building for 24 hours and then released scot-free.” 

Despite the media uproar surrounding the case, the owner of the brothel, a Lebanese businessman, was soon released on bail. Hearings into the case have been postponed multiple times and, three years on, the trial is only just about to begin. Al Jazeera heard accounts of several scenarios in which Syrian women and children ended up in the hands of traffickers. One involved marriages, either in Syria or Lebanon, where the “husband” later revealed himself to be a trafficker. Another involved groups of women and children being trafficked across the border. There are also cases of women and girls being forcibly recruited within refugee camps or even sold by their families to traffickers.

When the abuse becomes the normal

Having gone to work in the Lebanon found upon arrival that there was no payment for the work that they had completed, and most were often forced to work for nothing.

An Ethiopian domestic worker in Lebanon who was filmed being physically abused in public has committed suicide, local media have reported. The video, first aired by Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI) last week, caused outrage by showing a man abusing Alem Dechasa as she cried on a street outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut. The man was shown grabbing Dechasa and telling her, “get into the car” while she screamed out, “no, no, no”. Another man then assisted in dragging Dechasa into the back of a car as she struggled to resist.(source Al-Jazeera)

Ethiopian Women and some men in the Lebanon treated as Slaves and then abandoned.

Domestic workers in Lebanon are employed under the notorious kafala system, which binds their legal residence to one employer and does not allow them to amend or end work contracts without permission. The system, used in a number of middle eastern countries, has facilitated widespread abuse and an employer-employee relationship that has been likened to modern-day slavery. (source Al-Jazeera)

So as you can see from the examples above there are still cases of modern slavery still going on, and this is widespread and yet no one in the West seems to be shouting for their rights and demanding that their lives matter. When I saw this documentary I had tears in my eyes at the desperation of those poor women and some men who had just abandoned on the streets. They cannot get home as they have not been paid, and in some cases this has been years and nobody has looked into the allegations of wide-spread abuse…and it has still carried on. What about their lives? Do they matter?

“[My employer] put me here and left,” one Ethiopian worker told local news channel LBCI. “They didn’t give me money for a month. I told them I want to travel but they told me there’s no money for the ticket. They said if you want, work for free. If you don’t, leave to wherever you want. In the end, they brought me here and left me. They have been dumped here like trash,” another woman said, gesturing towards the women lining the sidewalk. (source Al-Jazeera)

I will continue to highlight the plight of those women and men who have through no fault of their own been forced into slavery either as sex slaves or as domestic slaves….each being abused that is not acceptable in this day and age, and yet very few have highlighted that their lives matter.