A Cameroonian lady trapped in Lebanon since January 2019 is sending a distress call back home, calling on the government to liberate her from the hands of her “captors” before she dies of hard labour and maltreatment.
Wesi Elizabeth Kongla,
34, has confided in Mimi Mefo Info, that a small foam on the floor has been her bed since she arrived.
“I work from Monday to Monday without rest. I eat mostly once a day and they will only give me food at 4:00pm…,” she recounts.
Elizabeth, currently living with a certain Camel Yassen in Tyre, a city in South Lebanon, is now being forced by her host to sign a document written in Arabic.
“I don’t know what is written in the document they are asking me to sign, but they said if I refuse, they will take me to the police and I don’t know what will happen to me as from today. My passport was seized when I got here. The 250 dollars promised me as monthly pay is not being respected. They have been giving me just 200$ so far, when I asked why, the man threatened me and asked me to repay him 2800$…” Elizabeth says in tears.
How did she get here?:
Elizabeth said a Lebanese woman in Cameroon processed her documents to be a domestic staff to her mother in Lebanon.
“My small sister is working with one woman from Lebanon in Cameroon. The woman asked her if she had a sister that will like to work in Lebanon with her parents.
Then she asked and I was interested because I didn’t have a job in Cameroon. I agreed. The woman told me she will arrange all my travel documents and arrangements so that I will come work with her parents. She said my monthly pay will be, 250$ and they will take responsibility for everything. My passport was done and sent me to Yaounde to go and sign the contract and I did as she said. But when I arrived here, I was sleeping on the floor on a small foam and I eat mostly once a day. I will stay from morning till 4:00pm before they will give me small food. So when I made one month, they paid me but 200$. When I wanted to ask, the man threatened me…”
Elizabeth says the contract she signed in Yaounde specified that, she was going to work for two years with a 250$ monthly salary with an accommodation provided. But she just realized it is not being respected.
“If they have a hint that I’m not happy or that I’m trying to report back home, I will be in trouble…,” she adds.
Elizabeth’s lone desire, is to return to her country.
In the wake of similar reports of Cameroonians being ill treated by their hosts in Kuwait, Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East, the government of Cameroon promised to work with immigration authorities of the said countries to guarantee the protection of its citizens. But the rights of Cameroonian women who embark on these perilous journeys are still being violated.
Speaking to a renown female Lebanese journalist and right defender, she said Lebanon is yet to restore order in the sector, but it is the right of each country to mount pressure on the Lebanese government to ensure the protection of its citizens.
Zahera Harb cited the example of Philippine government which is foreseeing the protection of its nationals recruited as domestic workers in Lebanon against violence.
She said the victims could also contact newly created syndicates defending the rights of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon.
Elizabeth says reaching out to any of these organizations will be risky for her, for she knows not what may befall her.
We trust that the government of Cameroon will intervene before the worst happens.
Meantime Mimi Mefo Info is still trying to get in touch with the host or relatives of Elizabeth’s host for reactions.
Mimi Mefo Info