From exclusion to resistance: migrant domestic workers and the evolution of agency in Lebanon

Journal articles or issues
February 2018
Dina Mansour-Ille and Maegan Hendow

In addition to hosting a large population of refugees and displaced persons, Lebanon is home to an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 migrant domestic workers. Under Lebanese law, domestic workers fall under the kafala, or sponsorship, system. Existing literature has focused on the legality of the kafala system and the ensuing human rights violations resulting from workers' exclusion from Lebanese labour law.

Based on fieldwork conducted in 2016, this article argues that migrant domestic workers in Lebanon have defied their spatial, social and legal exclusion by organising collective resistance, triggered in part by the July 2006 Israel–Lebanon war.