Migrant Domestic Workers, the Church, and Mission
In Lebanon, a small country in the Middle East, migrant domestic workers (MDWs) are often hired to sustain several industries that require cheap labor. Mainly recruited from Asia and Africa, female migrant domestic workers come to Lebanon expecting to work in qualified positions for fair salaries and satisfactory working conditions. Sadly, human rights abuses against MDWs abound, including forced labor, neo-slavery working conditions, violence, and exploitation. Current Lebanese laws concerning foreign workers do not adequately address the problem. The realities of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon have drawn the attention of human rights organizations and world news media alike. However, while a few studies examine MDWs' experiences from a social science perspective, there are currently no existing studies that analyze MDWs in Lebanon through a theological lens.
In this study I examine the realities of migrant domestic workers by examining the role key clergy have on effecting change in their respective Christian communities. This study understands how the Lebanese Church treats the plight of MDWs as an indicator of the Lebanese church's self-understanding of the missio Dei (mission of God). Having conducted 25 in-depth, open interviews with migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and 50 blended surveys of Lebanese key clergy members, this study analyzes the perceptions and attitudes towards migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. Using a grounded theory approach, the study reveals how key clergy are complicit in propping up structural injustices against vulnerable African and Asian migrant workers in Lebanon, rather than confronting societal sin in the name of Jesus.
Mentor: Roberta King
Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)
Church work with immigrants, Lebanon, Labor, Household employees, Foreign workers
Missions and World Christianity