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THE STORY

This Is Lebanon has received multiple testimonies about the alleged abuse committed by Chadi Chami, the owner of Chadi Trading. The testimonies come from women who came to Lebanon as domestic workers through his agency in Jbeil (Byblos). 

Three testimonies, and likely many more as of yet unheard accounts, speak of beatings until the victims blacked out; of long-term physical damage; death threats; and keeping women locked in a room in inhumane conditions. Chami confiscated phones, took away their money, and barely provided them with food. 

Names have been changed to preserve the victims’ identities.

Aliya: “The owner of this agency keeps girls in one small, congested room – it even has bed bugs. I experienced this after I came to Lebanon and asked to change employers. He [Chadi Chami] can keep you in that office even for a month.

We used to go for days eating only one side of bread with one picon [small piece of processed cheese], twice a day. He put a camera in that room. You’re not allowed to stand, or even talk to the person next to you.

He used to beat girls, though he never laid a hand on me. Between that room is his office and the washroom, which is always locked. We used to spend the whole day seated on the floor and since we were many, we couldn’t even change positions.

When he closed his office and everyone had gone home, that’s when we used to take showers in the WC. After that we would sleep on some small old mattresses full of bedbugs. We would wake up at 6 in the morning and clean the office and the entrance, and go back into our room for the rest of the day. That’s the routine in that office. He employed one Ethiopian girl who was monitoring us. Only she could talk in the room.”

Until now my leg is not normal. He beat me too much until I blacked out. I want to know more information, until now I didn’t get justice. God be with us for justice. The agency told me that if I open my mouth, they’d send me to the Philippines, dead.” – Sonia

“I’m not ashamed to demonstrate what he did to me in front of the media, I hate him. In this agency [there were] a lot of black girls, from Cameroon, Ethiopia. It’s not only me he is beating. That time he beat me he take my cell phone, even my Philippine money. I don’t have access to anyone.” – Helen

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THE STORY

This Is Lebanon knows of two women, one Ethiopian and one Filipino, who did not realise they were pregnant when they arrived in Lebanon. Maroun Khawand forced both of these women to have abortions. (LL: is this fact or allegations?)

Testimony from Sandra*: “Take note of these faces. They hire Filipinos and bring them to Lebanon. This agency beats up and hurts workers if they go back to the office. There are lots of victims already.”

*Name changed

COMMENTS

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We are a very low-budget Canadian nonprofit. We depend on all our donors to fight for these women, donations big and small. You can make a difference. Will you consider donating help us continue this vital work?

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THE STORY

Eva says: “She wanted a 100% perfect clean house. I cleaned and cleaned because I was scared of her but she was never content. I even went outside on the window sills to clean her windows every two weeks. It was dangerous.”

“If she saw dust, she was angry. She would touch the floor and look for dirt. I couldn’t tell her it was because the windows were open, and we were on the third floor and dust came in during the summer. She couldn’t accept that.” – Eva

Eva continues: “Sir Assaad is a good person. So is his family. I had no problems with him.” On Sundays when Assaad and Sarah went out, they would lock Eva in with the dog. Eva was only 20 at the time and she said Sarah scared her by telling her her family were “big people in Lebanon” and they could do anything they wanted to her.

During her time there, Eva remitted money to the Philippines twice – $300 to her friend and $500 to her brother. On 10 October 2017 her employers gave her $100 cash and took her to the airport. Her monthly salary was $300.

She worked for the Azars for 11 months so should have received a total of $3,300. Instead, she received only $900.

There is a shortfall of $2,100 (a phone was purchased for $300 but Eva was denied use of it while she was there).

This Is Lebanon contacted Sarah on Eva’s behalf. She was extremely rude on the phone (see video) and blocked us on four different numbers. She refused to communicate. Only once This Is Lebanon had posted on Facebook did Sarah have her friend post copies of the receipts totaling $800 (there is one for $300 which is disputed). 

Sarah maintains that Eva was paid the balance of her salary in cash at the airport, but Eva disputes this. There is no evidence of any cash payment. Eva says that all she received at the airport was 3 biscuits.

Sarah said: “I am a clever girl from a family of lawyers. I grew up in France and only came to Lebanon two years ago. I know about my animal rights and I know about human rights.” People who were in school with her in Lebanon wrote to us and said that was a lie because she grew up in Lebanon not France. Alas, being clever and having a pretty face don’t make you a decent human being.

LIKE OUR WORK?

We are a very low-budget Canadian nonprofit. We depend on all our donors to fight for these women, donations big and small. You can make a difference. Will you consider donating to help us continue this vital work?