Evangelyn Hernandez left her home in the Philippines by boat. She made a risky journey to Lebanon to work as a domestic worker to support her mother who had had to have her lower leg amputated. Eva’s father had passed away and there was no one else to support the family. She arrived in Lebanon on September, 2016 and went to work for Sarah Sermani Azar and Assaad Azar. Sarah is a teacher at the Lebanese University in Alba and Assaad is an architect. Sarah was physically and verbally abusive to Eva. Sarah is a member of Beta, an animal rescue organisation, and took stray dogs in off the street. Unfortunately, she places more value on a stray dog than on a human being. Once she beat Eva up when the dog peed inside the house, blaming Eva for not taking it outside early enough. Another time, an Ethiopian worker spilled rice on the floor and when Eva brought tissues to clean up, Sarah beat her up for not bringing towels. She hit her so badly that Eva attempted to jump out the window but Sarah stopped her. Eva asked to be taken back to the agency but Sarah refused. She was always angry and aggressive. Eva said, “She wanted 100% perfect clean house. If she saw dust, she was angry. She would touch the floor and look for dirt. I couldn’t tell her it was because the windows were open, and we were on the third floor and dust came in during the summer. She couldn’t accept that. I cleaned and cleaned because I was scared of her but she was never content. I even went outside on the window sills to clean her windows every two weeks. It was dangerous.” Eva says, “Sir Assaad is a good person. So is his family. I had no problems with him.” On Sundays when Assaad and Sarah went out, they would lock Eva in with the dog. Eva was only 20 at the time and she said Sarah scared her by telling her her family were “big people in Lebanon and they could do anything they wanted to her.”
During her time there, Eva remitted money to the Philippines twice – $300 to her friend and $500 to her brother. On the 10 October, 2017 they gave her $100 cash and took her to the airport. Her monthly salary was $300. She worked for the Azars 11 months so should have received $3,300. Instead, she received only $900. There is a shortfall of $2,100 (a phone was purchased for $300 but Eva was denied use of it while she was there). We contacted Sarah on Eva’s behalf. She was extremely rude on the phone (see video) and blocked us on four different phones. She refused to communicate. Only once we posted on Facebook did she have her friend post copies of the receipts totaling $800 (there is one for $300 which is disputed). She maintains that Eva was paid the balance of her salary in cash at the airport but Eva says that is a lie. There is no evidence of any cash payment. All Eva got at the airport was 3 biscuits.
Sarah said “I am a clever girl from a family of lawyers. I grew up in France and only came to Lebanon two years ago. I know about my animal rights and I know about human rights.” People who were in school with her IN LEBANON wrote to us and said that was a lie. Alas, being clever and having a pretty face don’t make you a decent human being.