Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ethiopian maid survives apparent 4-story suicide leap in Lebanon

The Daily Star

BEIRUT: An Ethiopian maid was in critical condition Friday after she allegedly threw herself from the fourth store balcony of her Mount Lebanon employer's home in an apparent suicide attempt, a security source said.

The source told The Daily Star that the woman suffered severe fractures and bruises after leaping from her employer's balcony in the town of Bsalim, 12 kilometers northeast of Beirut.

Security forces launched an investigation into the case at the request of the judiciary. The woman's employers are being questioned, the source added.

According to the International Labor Organization, Lebanon is home to over 250,000 female migrant domestic workers, the majority of whom come from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Philippines and Bangladesh to work as housemaids.

Rights groups have complained that employers often withhold pay, lock workers in their homes and confiscate their passports, among other abuses.

The harsh living conditions have pushed some migrant workers to commit suicide. Others have died or been seriously injured while trying to escape the employers’ residences.

In 2008, Human Rights Watch recorded one migrant domestic worker death per week from unnatural causes, including suicide.