Exploitation and trafficking in women


KAFA’s Anti-Trafficking and Exploitation Unit addresses two forms of exploitation that specifically target women: sexual exploitation and trafficking and forced domestic work, through two programs dedicated to these two groups of women: exploited in prostitution and migrant domestic workers.

The Unit also calls for providing legal and social protection for women and girls who are victims of exploitation and trafficking, and for changing the discriminatory social mentality prevailing against these two groups of women.

Intervention is made on several levels to reach these goals, such as:

- Advocacy for long-term legal and societal change, particularly concerning the abolition of the Kafala/sponsorship system and the inclusion of domestic workers in the Labor Law, as well as the adoption of an abolitionist approach to prostitution by decriminalizing and supporting women exploited in prostitution and punishing sex buyers, pimps, and traffickers

- Prepare research to constantly increase knowledge and update information, and to design evidence-based interventions with victims

- Awareness activities and campaigns to fight misconceptions and stereotypes about these problems

- Capabilities building with the concerned groups of women themselves. Plus, training the Internal Security Forces, General Security Forces, and service providers on how to intervene with these two groups

- Provide comprehensive services to victims through:

  • A 24/7 hotline for domestic workers and women exploited in prostitution
  • Providing social and psychosocial support and developing a comprehensive intervention plan with the social worker
  • Providing psychological follow-up with a psychologist and a psychiatrist
  • Providing legal service through legal advice, accompanying the victim during investigations, representing and pleading, and assisting the victim to file complaints, and following up the legal file related to the case
  • Providing a safe shelter belonging to the organization targeting women who are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation or forced domestic work. This center provides temporary accommodation for these women, accompaniment, social, health, psychological and legal support. It also provides women with opportunities for empowerment and a safe return to their homeland if they are immigrants.


This video shows the realities of women in prostitution, and is based on a qualitative study on the needs of Lebanese and Syrian women in prostitution and the challenges they face in Lebanon. The study was conducted by Kafa (enough) Violence & Exploitation in partnership with the American University of Beirut and with the support of the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University.

To download the study, please visit this page.

The standard unified labor contract issued by the Lebanese Ministry of Labor on September 8, 2020, is the first step in a series of measures needed to abolish the Kafala / sponsorship system to which foreign domestic workers are subjected.

After they were locked in the homes of their employer under the Kafala (sponsorship) system; domestic workers are now stranded in Lebanon as a result of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Lebanon has turned into a large prison far away from their own home.

In April, a Nigerian domestic worker, who has been in Lebanon for three months, threw herself from the window. Her fall resulted in numerous bone fractures and she had to be taken to a hospital. She suffered from a mental disorder according to the investigation led upon Kafa’s request. After having spent a week at the hospital, she couldn't extend her stay since her insurance company stopped covering the fees and there was no association willing to do so.

I am Manini. When first asked about my age here in Lebanon, I said that I do not know because I feared deportation if someone found out I was young.

My name is Mahi; I am 22 years old, and I am from Ethiopia. I came to Lebanon in 2017 to work as a domestic worker because I wanted to save some money to continue my education.

My name is Oro, (name changed) I am 28 years old and a mother of two. In my home in Ethiopia, I used to hear of many Ethiopian women who would travel to Lebanon for work to support their families. Like them, I also wanted to provide for my children, to pay for their school fees, and to buy them clothes and shoes.

Throughout her five months of domestic servitude, Tina was subjected to various forms of physical and psychological violence including detention, degrading treatment, humiliation, shouting and beating. Although she was able to free herself by leaving the sponsor's home, she is still tied by the shackles of the sponsorship system that require her abusive sponsor to sign a "waiver" before she can work somewhere else. Otherwise, she is forced to return home empty-handed. This sponsorship system is a modern system of slavery in its most extreme forms.

On February 1st 2018, KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation launched a media campaign* entitled “Think about it, think about her”* targeting Lebanese employers of migrant domestic workers (MDWs), as a continuation of its 2016 campaign highlighting employers’ perceptions of MDWs.

For the eighth year in a row, migrant domestic workers (MDWs) and supporters came together to claim labor rights, march, and celebrate workers' day. This past year did not witness any improvement of protection of migrant domestic workers. On the contrary, we have seen the abuses continue against the lives, rights and freedoms of MDWs, while the abusers still enjoyed impunity. 


Letters sent by WMDW to Decision Makers
Recognize the Domestic Workers’ Union in Lebanon
Reforming the Sponsorship System for WMDW