Ethiopian maid found hanged in Lebanon

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liban87The Daily Star
BEIRUT: An 23-year-old Ethiopian maid was found hanged in an apparent suicide Monday at her employer’s house in Jbeil, the National News Agency reported.

Dizzy Jerma Bifkado was found hanged at the apartment located in the Jbeil suburb of Blat Monday, NNA added.

Accompanied by forensic experts, detectives arrived to the appartment to investigate the incident.

The body was moved to Sayyidat al-Maounat University Hospital in Byblos.

The incident came three days after another Ethiopian domestic worker had jumped from her employer’s house on the fourth floor in Bsalim, north of Beirut. She survived the fall but was severely injured.

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.

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File – Ethiopian domestic workers walk dogs in Beirut’s Ashrafieh district, Lebanon, Friday, March 4, 2011. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

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.

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