Many of the protesters are undocumented migrants who say they have paid exorbitant fees to Kenya’s consulate in hopes of being repatriated.
There are upwards of 1,000 Kenyan women in the tiny eastern Mediterranean country. Most of the migrant community are female domestic workers who are sponsored to be in Lebanon under the controversial Kefala system, a form of indentured servitude which ties the woman’s immigration status to a live-in work contract.
Several Kenyan women have been staging their demonstrations until the early hours of the morning, calling the consulate’s employees “thieves” and at times facing off with the assistant consul at the gates of the building, according to video seen by CNN.
“Kassem we come to the office, you tell us to go and do prostitution,” one woman yelled at Jaber on Monday, according to the videos. “We don’t have work.”
CNN contacted the consulate but has yet to receive a comment about the protests.
In addition to the allegations of abuse, four women told CNN they witnessed Chalouhi suggesting that Kenyan women seek sex work in order to cover their consular expenses.
All of the witnesses said Chalouhi and Jaber regularly overcharge Kenyan women for consular fees. Jaber has denied those accusations.