Cleaner of LAU Dorms is a Slave

Florence Njoki Wangari arrived in Lebanon from Kenya in June 2014 and left in June 2017. Her first 18 months’ salary were paid but the last 18 months remain unpaid. She repeatedly asked for her full salary, and was told in return that it was ‘in the bank’. Florence was sent back to Kenya for her father’s funeral with the promise of return, so she didn’t even take her clothes with her. When she contacted her employers from Kenya, they blocked her. She is still owed $3,000.

Florence Njoki Wangari

Slave at LAU Student Dorms

Mr Rony and Joseph Hawatt

Operator’s of H Dorm at Lebanese American University

THE STORY

Florence’s employers separated at the end of 2016. Nicolas left M* with a mountain of debt and now lives in London. He works at Noura, a Lebanese restaurant chain. We contacted both M* and Nicolas to try and recover Florence’s unpaid salary. M* blocked us. Nicolas didn’t respond (though saw the messages). M* was paid by the owners of LAU H dorms for the work that Florence did cleaning.

So M* not only didn’t pay Florence but was benefiting financially from the work she was making Florence do. And she’s had a few trips to Dubai since the separation, where she bought new clothes and jewelry.

After much deliberation, This Is Lebanon decided to conceal M’s name as we don’t want to be responsible for tipping her over the edge. She is not without blame, though. She could have taken Florence back to the agency if she could no longer afford to pay her. Instead, she chose to profit from her labour.

Slavery in Lebanon? You better believe it.

What can Florence do to get her salary? It would be nice if she could buy a pair of shoes that fitted after her 3 years in Lebanon.

Here is Florence’s story in her own words:

“I am Florence Njoki Wangari. I arrived in Lebanon on 11 June 2014 at midnight. My employers were a couple with children age 19 and 12. My mister was Nicholas Angelina. My madam is a teacher and she paints. In the first 3 months I asked madam M to send me back to the agency office because I didn’t want to work with her anymore. I was overworked and did not have enough food. She used to insult me, abusing and calling me sharmuta [prostitute]. She told me that if I wanted to go back to Kenya, I had to pay her 5000 dollars.

After 2 years we moved and we stayed in H DORM*, near Lebanese American University  (LAU) – dorms for the students. I used to clean the stairs, offices and 10 rooms, and they were very dirty. I remember I didn’t have time to rest or even take lunch. I asked for my salary but she kept telling me it was in the bank. I worked very hard cleaning H DORMS alone. It wasn’t easy work, cleaning and collecting garbage.

Mr Rony and Joseph Hawatt should read this because when they came to check if the dorms were clean they would congratulate me. M please pay my salary. Last June 1 my Dad died and I told M I wanted to pay my last respects at the funeral of my dad.


I remember I was very sick and I couldn’t walk alone. I am sincere. It’s so painful. When I asked for my salary she told me to go to Kenya for the burial then come back again to Lebanon and she would send my money. Unfortunately when I got to Kenya she blocked me and no response from her. She is a devil woman. How could she lie to me knowing the suffering I am facing right now. Please, I need my 3000 dollars. I worked for it. I have too much pain and stress.”.


LAU, when contacted, said H Dorm is not owned or operated by them.

COMMENTS

LIKE OUR WORK?

We are a very low-budget Canadian nonprofit. We depend on all our donors to fight for these women, donations big and small. You can make a difference. Will you consider donating help us continue this vital work?