Remember to always look for these two logos or other free trade logos when buying chocolate, clothing, or any other products. It’s great to see that fair-trade is becoming mainstream and even companies like Hershey and Nestlé are making attempts towards fair-trade. But forced labor, unfair labor, child labor, and slavery, are by no means gone. So please decide to make the decision to live a fair-trade lifestyle with your purchases.

Ethiopian suicides in the Middle East

Many Ethiopian migrant workers working throughout the Middle East, espeically in Lebanon, are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, and are often denied wages, causing many of them  to commit suicide. Unfortunately, this is not unique to Ethiopian migrant workers. This experience is a reality for many Sri Lankan, Bengali, Nepali, Malagasy, and Eritrean domestic workers working in Lebanese homes.

Lebanese families employ an estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers, primarily from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Nepal. Domestic workers are excluded from the labor law and subject to restrictive immigration rules based on employer-specific sponsorship that putworkers at risk of exploitation and make it difficult for them to leave abusive employers. The high incidence of abuse has led several countries, including Ethiopia, to bar their citizens from working in Lebanon. The ban on official travel to Lebanon has not halted the migration of domestic workers and may contribute to women being smuggled or trafficked into the country.

Lebanon March 8: source:

  Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), a Lebanese television network, released a video filmed on February 24 by an anonymous bystander in which a labor recruiter physically abused Dechasa-Desisa outside the Ethiopian consulate in Beirut. As she protests, he and another man drag her into a car. LBCI later identified the man beating Dechasa-Desisa as Ali Mahfouz,the brother of the head of the recruiting agency that brought her to Lebanon. Mahfouz agreed to be interviewed on television and alleged that his brother’s agency had been trying to return her to her home country because she had mental health problems.

Police arrived at the scene shortly thereafter, found the car still there, and took Dechasa-Desisa to a detention center. Following a request by Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, who maintains a presence at the detention facility, they transferred her for medical care two days later but did not arrest those who carried out the beatings. Dechasa-Desisa committed suicide at the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital in the early morning of March 14. A social worker from Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, who visited Dechasa-Desisa at the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital, told Human Rights Watch that a Lebanese forensic doctor examined her on March 10.

(Watch youtube video here)

Following her death Ethiopians gather in front of the Ethiopian consulate’s office in Beirut to protest.  EThiopians are outraged that “that officials at the consulate saw Dechasa-Desisa being beaten, thrown on the ground and forced into Mahfouz’s care, but failed to take action, instead remaining inside the consulate walls and watching the abuse.”