Neo-Slavery in the Twenty-First Century: Lebanon’s Kafala System

Nonetheless, its existence is still observed today through the application of the Kafala system, a “restrictive immigration regime of laws”, held on foreign workers that seek asylum in the Gulf region.

In the historical sense, the Kafala system appeared in the 1950s when several Arab countries started employing foreign workers to accelerate their economic development. Seventy years later, the system is still alive and well in Lebanon, the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others.

The Kafala System, which refers to “guardianship” in Arabic, is a system in which foreign workers are sponsored, thereby assigned to a citizen of a host country and hired through local recruitment agencies.

English | February 24, 2021



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