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Lebanese ambassador to Austria accused of migrant worker mistreatment

18-3-2019

On March 16, Al Akhbar newspaper reported the news aired on Austrian media under, ‘New slavery in Vienna’. The news is about a diplomat from a Middle East country who mistreated migrant women domestic workers from the Ethiopian and Philippino nationalities working at his house. The diplomat, according to the news, is the Lebanese ambassador to Vienna, Ibrahim Assaf, who, with his wife, exploited the workers, treating them as slaves, without least respect to their privacy. The girls, the news went on to say, were forced to work all day without time for rest or days off. They were not even paid for their extra hours or for their monthly salary. The three workers reportedly fled the diplomat’s house on January 13 and took refuge in the Austrian foreign ministry, which confirmed the news. Meanwhile, LEFO, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, is following up the case. In Beirut, the Austrian foreign ministry faced Assaf with the accusations, but his diplomatic immunity exempted him from the charges. Al Akhbar for its part, did not anticipate any developments on the matter, for the Austrian mission to Beirut mentioned only the fact that the ambassador did not pay for the overtime and nothing else. (Al Akhbar, March 16, 2019)

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