Significant steps have been taken in the Middle East to improve the employment and living conditions of migrant workers. Recent reforms in Qatar, Lebanon and Jordan supporting policies that respect human rights are a result of international cooperation carried out over the years by governments, international organisations and NGOs.
Consider Ayana, for example: a young Ethiopian woman who went to Lebanon in search of a job. Through an agency, she was placed as a housemaid earning USD 200 a month – well below the Lebanese minimum wage of USD 450. Soon after she arrived, her passport and residence permit were taken away. In addition to inhumane working hours, she is not allowed to leave the apartment without the consent of her employer, let alone leave the country. This brief reconstruction is a typical example of the fate shared by some 272,000 foreign domestic workers in Lebanon.