Misery of the housemaids (5)

A 30-year-old Sri Lankan maid, Ambagla Mudian Silage, hasjumped to her death from an employment on the fourth floor of a building in Jal el Dib, Lebanon. 

Suicides by domestic workers are common in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East but usually occur at the home of the employer. In January, two Nepalese women fell from another employment office on the third floor of Salibi tower in Jisr el Basha. One died; the other was injured.

The Ethiopian Suicides blog, which reports on the treatment of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon, comments: "This is a worrying pattern, especially in light of the apparent unaccountability of employment offices bringing maids to Lebanon."

Another maid – this time a Bangladeshi – is in hospital under police guard with a broken back after reportedly falling down stairs while trying to escape from her employer in Baalbek. She has had an operation which both her employer and an insurance company are refusing to pay for. Her employer has accused her of theft. Al-Akhbar newspaper has more details (in Arabic).

In Metn, north-east of Beirut, police are looking for a Filipina maid who fled her employer, allegedly after stealing $5,000 and ID papers from the house. The Ethiopian Suicides blog 
points out

"When a maid runs away from her employer's house, the police station is unable to act because there's no law criminalising runaway maids. So the police station officer tells the Lebanese employer to say that she stole money. This is a possibility in this case."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 21 March 2010.