A severed human body of a migrant Ethiopian worker was discovered in a bag placed on the road in Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Saturday in a heinous crime, according to local media.
According to the media, which reported pictures of the incident, a bag containing human remains was found in front of a bank located on Independence Street in the Lebanese capital.
The bag contained the victim’s hands and feet cut off, while other bags were being searched in the area that might contain the rest of the body parts.
Forensic evidence and security forces rushed to the scene, where they imposed a security cordon, and the authorities began their investigations to uncover the circumstances and find the perpetrators.
Foreign domestic workers have been paying the price for the economic crisis in Lebanon due to the shortage of the dollar caused by an economic slowdown. Many domestic workers are demanding their salaries at a time when many Lebanese who recruit them are unable to pay salaries in dollars themselves.
According to Reuters, thousands of foreign workers in Lebanon, some without legal documentation, are out of work and left stranded. Their plight has been compounded by the deadly explosion at Beirut port on August 4. Lebanon’s “kafala” sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers had been under fire by labor and human rights advocates long before the current crisis.
Over the past year, officials have embarked on serious discussions about overhauling the system. The discussions have also gained new currency amid mass anti-racism protests in the US and worldwide that have thrown a spotlight on the treatment of African immigrants in Lebanon.
The current legal framework for migrant workers ties the worker’s legal presence in the country to a specific employer, does not allow the worker to change employers without the permission of the first employer, and makes renewal of residency and work permits contingent on the employer.
Migrant domestic workers are also not covered by the same labor protections as other employees.