HISTORY OF TRAFFICKING:
In 1943 Lebanon achieved its independence. As a result of their independence, eighteen different religious sects currently share power in Lebanon’s government creating split loyalties. War, both civil and international, has made significant contributions to human trafficking in the country. After just one governmental dispute in 1975, Lebanon went into a 15 year civil war. Times of unstable government, ravished infrastructures, and staggering death tolls have left many displaced, families broken, and people vulnerable to exploitation. With the influx of international visitors to the region, organized crime groups have cornered a lucrative market in sexual tourism.
CURRENT TRAFFICKING TRENDS:
Lebanon is both a source and destination country for forced labor along with adult and child prostitution. Lebanese children are trafficked internally for the purpose of sexual and labor exploitation. The country permits entry of females under the “artist” visa program which allows them to work in the adult entertainment industry. These victims are used to fuel the trafficking supply that feeds the ravenous appetite and demand for elicit sex. In 2009, 4,518 Eastern European women entered into Lebanon under this program. Numerous women, especially from Moldova, enter on their own believing they will be employed as models or masseuses, only to find upon arrival they have been sold into slavery and forced into prostitution.
Labor trafficking in Lebanon is heinous. Many workers who come to the land have passports confiscated and are forced to work in deplorable conditions. Employers have the legal right to restrict movement as no worker is allowed to leave an area without their permission. Reports indicated that victims have been confined for years at a time. Traffickers operate unhindered by the government and without fear of ramifications for inhumane treatment of laborers as there is no explicit law that addresses human trafficking in the region. Although the government has been attempting to combat human trafficking, little progress has been made because of lack of resources and corruption. Only around sixty cases of identified trafficking victims are annually seen in Lebanon. The sentencing is as low as one––year of imprisonment. Most victims are often fearful to come forward and many are deported. With some officials in the government unsure of how to proceed, and some unwilling, the victims are currently left on their own.
- Pray that all obstacles in the government related to human trafficking laws be removed.
- Pray that the Lord would open the eyes of those unwilling to help, changing their hearts.
- Pray that God would open the doors for the gospel to come to Lebanon.