Sponsorship system and Syrian refugees: promoting exploitation and abuse. To which extent the Kafala system can be considered a form of human trafficking and the increasing vulnerability of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
The overall idea of this research is to analyse the effects of the sponsorship system on Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon. Through the inquiry of the Kafala system from a legal definition and through the assessment of the policies, the paper will prove that this system can be assimilated to a form of human trafficking. Taking into consideration the precarious legal status of Syrian refugees and the controversial measures adopted by the General Security Forces in the last couple of years, we will analyse the new registration measures and the role of the sponsor as such. In particular, the research will take into consideration the period following the year 2014 when the government changed and adopted more restrictive measures. It will specifically focus on the new entry and residency requirements stressing on the relationship between Syrian refugees and kafeels (sponsors). The paper will explore the reasons behind the implementation of this system, considering the security concern, and the consequences on the livelihoods of Syrian refugees. The research will conduct an assessment on the legal status of Syrian refugees in Lebanon in light of the recent regulatory changes and argue that these measure leave many of them in a deeply precarious position.