A Bleak Look at the Life of Migrant Workers Building Qatar's World Cup
Found at Gizmodo.
Here are just a few of the most horrific facts of life for migrant workers at a camp a half-hour drive from Doha, Qatar’s largest city:
No access to toilets or clean water: “There was an overpowering smell of excrement as we arrived. There were no Western-style toilets but holes in the floor. Others washed themselves using buckets of water. Salty water was used for drinking and washing.”
According to a labor representative, employees are more likely to die from heart attacks or heat stress than industrial accidents: “He said men as young as 25 were dying from heart attacks because of their working and living conditions.”
The workers are trapped due to Qatar’s kafala system: “Workers cannot change jobs or leave the country without their boss’s permission. Some revealed that their employers had not paid them for months but they could not change jobs. Many have not seen their families for years.”
And perhaps the most depressing fact: Per capita, Qatar is the richest nation on earth.
And a link to MP Jim Murphy from the Sunday Mail Scotland reporting from Doha.
As we Americans constantly are reminded, more of the rest of the world plays soccer than we play any other sport combined. So where is the world’s outrage over this?
Amnesty International report yet another reminder that Qatar can be horrible, horrible place
Among other abuses, 90 percent of Qatar’s 1.35 million foreign workers have their passports withheld by employers.
It’s called slavery.
Direct link to the Amnesty International report on Qatar’s labor practices in anticipation of the 2022 World Cup in PDF format for download.
The report is the product of three years’ investigation; certainly worth ten minutes to download and skim, if not a bit longer to read.
Slavery is alive and well in the 21st century, and it’s bringing you the World Cup in nine years. What are you going to do about it, futbol fans?
It’s disgusting, but part of a longstanding problem in the region. Immigrant workers in Dubai have been brought over for years, essentially held hostage, forced to work as slave-labor, beaten or murdered when they try to collect their wages or leave; their communications back home are monitored and censored. And they’ve been dying on worksites, forced to labor without safety equipment or breaks.
It’s slavery. It’s nothing less than slavery, and it’s happening today, and it’s happening all over the world.
It’d be nice if we, as consumers/travelers, and as citizens of our nation holding our government accountable (ha!), could show our displeasure with more than mere words about this travesty. For now, however, like many, I am at a loss as to what that solution looks like, which makes it all the more frustrating.