An Ethiopian holds up a placard during a parade in Beirut to support the rights of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon [File: Alia Haju/Reuters]

Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Lebanon to end what it described as an “inherently abusive” migration sponsorship system governing the lives of tens of thousands of foreigners working in private homes.

Domestic workers in Lebanon are excluded from the labour law, and instead obtain legal residency through their employers’ sponsorship under the so-called “kafala” system.

But activists say this leaves maids, nannies and caretakers at the mercy of their employers and unable to leave without their permission, including in numerous documented cases of abuse.

“Amnesty International is calling on the Lebanese authorities to end the kafala system and extend

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