Meron Lemma couldn't know there was a fate worse than wasting away as a poor teenager in the Ethiopian slum where she was born.
Desperate to create her own destiny, and drawn by the irresistible possibility of earning real dollars as a maid in Beirut, Meron leaves her devout mother and family behind to join the many other Habesha migrants searching for a better life in the Middle East.
Only once there does she realise the ugly truth: instead of opportunity, she has found captivity. Instead of freedom, subordination. Trapped and mistreated by the harsh Madame, Meron lives in constant fear – fear of the daily onslaught of Madame's vicious spite; of her cruel and callous daughters; of the sexual advances of her predatory son; and most of all, fear of losing her sense of self... her Habesha spirit... even her life.
Rich in cultural detail and exposing the ongoing, under-reported horrors facing domestic workers in Lebanon today, No Lipstick in Lebanon is a harrowing account of the unremitting hell of modern slavery. Told through the escalating plight of our heroine, this is not just a fictionalised report of one maid's ordeal, but rather the uncovering of a larger issue plaguing a generation of women.