Wealth created at the expense of slave labor
An online activist platform for social change is circulating a petition urging the US State Department to use Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to focus attention on the Gulf state’s problem with human trafficking.
The petition circulated by Change.org, which works with major non-governmental organizations as well as journalists and activists calls on the State Department to allocate funds to foster anti-trafficking legislation in the Gulf, support Qatari civil society groups that support victims and seek to prevent trafficking and encourage Qatar to develop a plan to combat human trafficking.
The petition targets those that have been critical of FIFA’s choice of Qatar, the first Middle Eastern state to win the right to host the world’s biggest sporting event.
Critics have suggested that Qatar lacks a soccer tradition and fanbase, restricts the consumption of alcohol, imposes strict moral codes of conduct and pushed the envelope of FIFA rules in campaigning to ensure that its bid would be successful.
Charging that Qatar’s “wealth is created at the expense of slave labor,” the petition quotes a 2007 State Department report as saying that the Gulf state has failed to prosecute traffickers, comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and adequately protect victims.
It asserts that the maximum sentence for forced labor trafficking under Qatari criminal law is six months.
The petition comes as human rights and labor activists are gearing up to use Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup as a way to pressure the oil-rich Gulf state to improve the working conditions of its majority expatriate workforce.
Foreigners primarily from Asia account for three quarters of Qatar’s population and are likely to shoulder the burden of building the world class soccer, transportation and hospitality facilities Qatar has promised for the World Cup.
Street signs in the Qatari capital Doha read: “Don’t kill us, we are at work.”
The signs are as much an admonition to vehicle drivers to be cautious as they are an appeal to Qatar’s population, many of whom have double-edged feelings towards the workers.
The workers are a necessarily evil, but over time they are almost certain to change the nature of society and make their impact on national culture and identity, a notion that sends chills down Qatari spines.
Unskilled and low-skilled labor work in conditions of “forced labor,” says Human Rights Watch researcher Samer Muscati. Muscati asserts that unskilled workers earn $2,200 a year, working 12 hours a day. He says their salary is often less than what they were promised because of fees they owe to loan-sharking recruiters.
Worker conditions in Qatar do not differ radically from those in other Gulf states. Workers are often housed in poorly equipped labor camps far from the urban centers and their passports are held as a form of control by their employers.
In anticipation of the criticism, Qatar has moved to improve facilities in housing complexes being built for workers who are constructing facilities for various foreign institutions, including Georgetown University and Virginia Commonwealth University. The two universities are among a number of prestigious Western educational institutions running programs in Qatar and building campuses.
James M. Dorsey authors The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog
so you find it ok an entire nation stimulating exploitation of the poorest?
thats what the corporations make use of.
One thing is having a corporation exploiting people; the other one is having a country's policies enabling that exploitation in a systematic way!
I have to go to work now, Nic.
You're right; Qatar is also the top world polluter per capita.
But all that would be a great opportunity to clean the country from the inside:
- discipline energy consumption;
- establish recycling programs;
- balance gender proportion;
- upgrade life conditions of the majority of Qatar's population (laborers) which would have a direct positive impact in the economy (they could bring along their families and even rent a home, all that would transform Doha in a normal city and the domestic economy would boom);
... But hey, all this would be conventional country thinking. Here as you said, it’s all about showing off a fake glamour!
Not sustainable and most of us will witness its decline!
Too bad, they can’t foresee it or they don’t care about their people’s future as theirs are well guaranteed in Swiss banks and businesses and properties elsewhere in the West (the same they love to hate).
The city-state of Athens had a proper domocracy in 300 BC. Every citizen could gather in the market place and give his direct vote. Unfortunately only 5000 people fitted in the agora. That's why now we have indirect democracy. But there are many countries where people have the right to remove their representatives every four years. And they have the right to protest, too. If they use their rights or not, is another question.
Which country has a proper democracy? All are pseudo-democracies anyway.
That's right, s_sale. But the countries where this works are all either monarchies, dictatorships, or pseudo-democracies with leaders in power for more than 20 years!
Do these 5- star hotels pay the same wages the world over?
These MNC's relocated their manufacturing industries due to greed (thats the easiest term that can be applied). They know they could get their manufactured at the lowest price paying the lowest wages.
Fair to say generally wealth is made at the expense of slave labour.
Do the people working deep in the mines get a very good salary?
Does the farmer working in the fields get a good value for their efforts or are they being taken for a ride by the middlemen?
This widespread exploitation is there in every part of the world.
This is just not peculiar to this region.
Nic, if the employees would be paid realistically the economy of Qatar would not be sustainable. If you only look at the energy consumption. Qatar is the world record holder in energy consumption per head. (Heavily subsidized, of course). Qatar is the world record holder in trash production per head. It would simply cost too much and there would be no money left for the football stadia for 2022. No, let's shine in 2022 and polish the image of Qatar. But, how it looks inside, is nobody's business.
All those leaking sources would be numbed and $ilenced!
Why implement it with force when the Emir has the power to introduce these basic social improvements?
Wouldn’t it be a wise move to improve Qatar's image and after all it wouldn’t come out of his pocket!
A decent minimum salary, labor law warranting to all 1 month holidays, 5 working days a week, over time paid, decent housing conditions, would certainly attract quality workmanship and the country would benefit twice (reputation and quality outputs)!
The prices of a 5 star hotel here are equivalent of those in Paris, London, New York. But the salaries of the people, who work in these hotels here, are a tiny fraction of what they make in those cities!
And this example applies to all other trades.
Al Jazeera and Wikileaks!
Facebook and Twitter!
Gulf Times, strangr!
True, nic. But it is a historical or sociological issue, and politics have only a slim chance to change that in a short time. (Unless they implement it with force).
where can i make a complaint on companies which is accommodating 15-25 people in a single room like animals .
is there any working labor department in Qatar or any Human rights watch against violation of basic human rights.
So I guess the answer is what I already suspected and how the world sees this region:
Hypocrisy and Greed in their best fed and incited at all levels of society starting from the very top!
It's rooted deep down in their souls, nic. Asians and foreigners used to be low paid servants since the beginning of Arab empires. It's egoism, and little consideration for the needs of others. An attitude resting in the Arab chest for hundreds of years needs to be changed. Guess, it will take some more hundreds of years.
Overlooking at the laborers abuses versus displaying exaggerated wealth, is this the result of an innocent mistake yet to be recognized and corrected, or is it greed and hypocrisy on its best?
Don't you find it odd that in what some call "the west", there is a labor law including a minimum salary, way above what these petrodollar rich (and so called religious) nations are paying to their laborers?
Is this an innocent failure or is it a well architected evil decision to exploit the poorest ones?
Nic, cities are just a fassade. What is behind and what is inside has to grow, slowly. Of course you can buy fancy clothes. But does that make you more educated??
Greed is also there!
And by the way can you tell me what is the minimum hourly salary in Europe and US (regardless the trade)?
I believe that the cities in Europe took centuries to be built, right?
If Qatar can "imitate" the superficial looks of western cities in less than a decade, why can’t they also copy the social welfare achieved in the west as a result of centuries of evolution in the west?
As Muslims (they claim) isn't it wrong to display extravagant wealth and vanity far above the average western when they play miserable salaries to laborers far below those westerns pay?
Common, something is wrong and whatever it is, it's flooded with hypocrisy!
Because of the "easy" availability of labor, as in some countries where there is no Labor law and some else where the minimum wage fixed is a joke compared to what they originally would have to pay. But the MNC'S are in their right to make use of the extra margin saved as a result of exchange rate, there is nothing illegal in that.
Could anyone pls tell why most of the manufacturing companies of Europe and US have shifted their manufacturing base to countries in Asia?
I'm not so concerned about the salaries paid but the way they are denied freedom of movement. i.e. at the mercy of their employer in regards to an exit permit and confiscation of their passport.
The salary is the salary which they agree to before coming and as long as that is what they get paid and on time they can have no complaints.
Yes, Nic. But you forget that the labor laws in Europe are the result of centuries of fighting. They didn't come for free. If people in Gulf start 'fighting' they are told to go back home. Yes, Nic, the governments here have not done enough. BUT: why should they? Because of 2022? Otherwise IT IS NOT IN THEIR INTEREST!
The laws are the responsibility of the Government, right?
How about their enforcement?
In the laborers case, its is obviously that both are not ok here!
The laws are not adequate to stop the systematic abuse (they are designed to abuse);
And the weak laws that are already there are not enforced!
At the end, no matter what we say, the government is the only responsible to implement order and law in a country.
All failures are the responsibility of those in power, like in any other country, corporation or organization!
What is the minimum hourly salary here in Qatar?
Is it 30QR/hour?
Are these laborers working 8 hours /per day? 240 QR/day?
Do they get 2 days/ week of rest?
Do they get 1 month/ year paid holidays?
Do they have any pension scheme?
Are the above requirements enforced by law?
The answer is No, No, No.
That is why that these gulf petrodollar countries profit and abuse their status as developing nations with developing laws. They are just developed when it comes to show off glamour and wealth.
When it comes to treat all human beings as equals with dignity, they choose their ancestor's slavery approach.
Given the laborers peanuts is sufficient in the eyes of these greedy petrodollars gulf nations. That is why you can see employers abusing employees and all they say here is "it’s not our fault"!
Genesis: "Allow me to remind you that most offenders here are international companies that are awarded billions of Qatari Riyal contracts. Maybe instead of flashing it on thier " westerners project managers" luxurious perks , save some for those poor workers ;)
i wouldnt mind them being paid that much if they are at least true to what they claim on their CV's.
unfortunately my experience proved me wrong in most cases.
Nic, the laws are in place. They are not implemented consequently. Take the traffic laws, for example. How many people do you see using the phone while driving? Does anything happen to them?
So for any crime happening in a country, all that country has to do is to blame the ones who actioned the crime and the authorities of that country don't have any responsibility in prosecuting the criminals?
Take your country (Germany) as an example.
Don’t they have a minimum salary, a labor law that ensures all have the same rights and social benefits?
A government dictates how a country is ruled and its law dictates how everyone must behave within its territory. Exceptional abuses might occur but here it’s a systematic abuse. Abuse created by a conveniently underdeveloped primitive system and the flawed law!
I haven't said there are no Qatari employers who abuse the law to their benefit. yes, there are many. Those who cling to the ways of the past through nepotism & clout
my post was about the government not individuals
I totally agree with genesis. It's expats who are managers and mandoubs. I haven't heard of a Qatari employer "selling" visa. The government has implemented rules already and fines, too. For example: keeping the passport is fined with QAR 5.000.
Wow, all defensive all of the sudden?
From the way Qatar treats its laborers (the OP topic) you jump to multicultural Canada and Bahrain social unrest?
Could you just stay focused on the topic? Or that requires too much denial, more than what it can be locally handled?
Anyway, no point discussing this here in Qatar, obviously everything here is so perfect and fare!
Let the world have a closer look and you'll see!
PS. Good for the Bahrainis, it’s about time they wake up! How about you guys when will the anesthesia seizes its effects?
There is a lot of labour pimping going on...
I cant understand it... how can a company staff itself by using other companies' workers?...duh!
pimping companies charges QR 2000 for a worker from Nepal and pays him QR 600 and dumps him in unhygienic living conditions to share his room with 10 other people...
And these are not small time companies.... even the Top Contracting companies are like this...
These are all misuse of NOC and Sponsorship laws.
Don't give me that bullshit
There are many Qataris who are human rights advocates who went out of their way to support the cause Of migrant workers
Like I said before, Goverment regulatory entities lacks the man power to monitor each and every case of the private sector. NHRC try to do the best as per the power given to them
Now, it's the worker's country role to protect thier citizens not ours.
Allow me to remind you that most offenders here are international companies that are awarded billions of Qatari Riyal contracts. Maybe instead of flashing it on thier " westerners project managers" luxurious perks , save some for those poor workers ;)
There are companies just issue the visa and sale it like anything. The company actually dont do any business. They keep charging for RP renwal, change sponsorships & for each & every signature they may need.
Better ask to close those.
what i never understand is why people like you not realize that these workers are also human beings like you or anybody else should be treated humanly .
Qatar should take little more care on the labour class. The way they are treated in work place & camps. They have the right but they dnt know...
Also I know companies who charge QR3,000/- for a 1 year RP renewal where the actual is 1,200/- only.
Keep paying or go home.
This is just the beggining, Qatar wanted to sit astride the world stage and get noticed. However when you get noticed people start to look a lot deeper and some of those people have their own agendas, both negative and positive.
The locals better get used to being in the spotlight.
Maybe you should welcome them in your country
That would maybe save your economy ;)
they are treated worse than 6th century slaves . there is no dignity for a worker in Qatar .
In many labor accommodations especially in Al Khor industrial area , the situation is very bad . people living like cattle , they rooms are like cattle sheds
each room accommodates more than what it can hold .
8-15 slaves in single room .
I hope one day these slaves masters get civilized through proper education.
slavery is not a sin or not even prohibited in Islam so that i believe that Muslim countries are still stick its slavery rules . Drinking alcohol is prohibited and a sin according to Islam , so that alcohol is prohibited.
Do you know what's happening in our neighboring country bahrain?
Do you know why locals there are protesting?
They are demanding their rights , to be given priority over expatriates who are now dominating all sectors there and make a better living than locals
Thanks god that our government puts the welfare of its people first
Yet, still try to implement change as per the so called international laws
And like many said it before; " if you don't Like it, you can always leave"
him and others are full of hate only, just pure 100% hate
hmmmm so when a canadian company or american company move their manufacturing facilities to china or some asian country to save money and cause trauma and distress to poor chinese labours, is that fair and acceptable ? i guess so as long as no arab or muslims is involved, no problem
Again, my country is not responsible for those workers
They are here in contracts, all What can be done is supervise & regulate that their presence is as per the need for development
Yes, we are not multicultural as Canada. And we all see now how well that turned out ;)
Whateever people say, there is nothing going to change until people are educated. Two months back there was a riot at SIDRA construction site by 800 workers against the subcontractor and the main contractor. They were demanding better working conditions and better pay deal, proper health and welfare facilities at workplace and at accomodation etc.... No news came out in the newspaper. What happend after that is that those labourers were deported in stages.... What a pity!!!!
Even now if you go to SIDRA site at lunch time you can see labourers taking lunch break on the open ground on a live construction site, sleeping on top of reubbish. I hope QF will take some strict action on the contractor and the sub contractors.
The problem is there, so someone has to take the responsibility and that someone is always those in power!
When will your country (the richest in the world) pay salaries like those paid in Europe and Canada? Minimum salary and equal worker’s rights to all, no matter if you are a CEO or a laborer!
Your country can afford it, but they need the money for the extravagant wealth display, isn’t it?
Laborers here, are just insignificant and a "necessarily evil"! They don’t bring any glamour, do they?
They can’t even enter malls in your country.
Something is awfully wrong when you think about the role religion plays in your society and the way laborers are treated.
Eventually my friend, this sad reality will go beyond Qatar Living and that is when your government will do something about it, wanna bet?
Any country that allows their companies to be complicit in all these kind of abuses are equally culpable.
the branded clothing that you wear comes from where?
The branded shoes that you wear come from where?
The hypocrisy of some over here really is astounding.
any country that allows abuses - by not having and enforcing a labor law that protects workers, regulating the rights for a minimum salary, working hours, holidays, equally rights to exist and live in dignity as any other citizen - is directly contributing to the problem.
There are laws that protects workers. The ministry of labor publishes monthly the number of violated companies that's been fined, So is NHRC
The problem lies on lack of judicial officers that follow up on laws being properly enforced and negligence of most worker's embassies
All I can say is treat them the way you would like yourself to be treated and with dignity and respect. They go to distant shores to work and earn a decent living and contribute to the development of the place they live and work in. Abusing, harrasing and ill treatment of this under priveleged workers sends a very bad signal to the world community and it shows and stands out very clearly.
LOL,No Answers, So a lot of conscience is tickled in to silence?G2G,.....
Everything is possible in Qatar, the law enforcement is weak and it won’t get any better as the Qataris will further loose control of their country with the foreigner's population exponentially escalating in the next few years.
Do you believe that there are Companies in Qatar who are asking their Employees to pay for their RP renewal?
no, i am not that naive.
I was just testing the arrogance of some!
Apply pressure !
Nic, are you really that naive?
Apparently , Qatar's PR is beyond your comprehension. While I do believe that certain changes might take place for situation of migrant workers, With recent events in the middle east Any amendment of laws will take in consideration the interests of locals in the first place
A Labour "Trading"company charges X amount from a company to which it has suplied labours and gives the labour x/2 to x/10 amount +accomodation +one way ticket in 2 years.The amount given is a partly sum compared with what the contracted company pays the labour supply pple, but is the figure agreed while recruiting them in their home countries. They are housed in a 4 BHK flat with 4 bunk beds in esch room ie 10 pple in each room and they have a kitchen and share 2 toilets between them. Now tell me, will constitute slave labour?
This is indeed an issue of concern all accross the Gulf. I have personaly seen some bad examples in Saudi.
The Qatari government with Barwa has started building a large complex with facilities for the workers. whether that will be enough is debatable.
Maybe expose the issue internationally, applying pressure and embarrass those who can do something about it, in this case the (wealthy) Qatari Government.
After all the WC 2022 might bring some improvements to these victims!
The workers aren't even the half of it. What about the women that are brought in as sex slaves and prostitutes. That's only going to increase as 2022 gets closer.
That's how it is. What to do, yanni?