End Forced Labor in Qatar - FreedomUnited.org

End Forced Labor in Qatar

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Film by FledgeDirector: Maria Leon3D artist: BondoSoundtrack: @TheBlaze_ProdSFX + VO: @sonhousetweets

Sign the petition calling on Qatar to ensure effective implementation of reforms to protect migrant workers from forced labor. Send a message to Football Associations asking them to call on FIFA to set up a compensation fund for migrant workers.

Exploitation and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Bide Majakoti knows the horror of forced labor and modern-day slavery in Qatar first-hand. He traveled from Nepal on the promise of a well-paid job and paid high recruitment fees to secure it. When he arrived in Qatar he was forced to accept a different job and his nightmare of exploitation and modern slavery began.

As preparations for the football 2022 World Cup infrastructure intensify, more low-paid migrant workers in construction, hospitality, and other key sectors will be vulnerable to forced labor under Qatar’s kafala system. Over 90% of Qatar’s workers are foreign workers, brought to the country under kafala, the ‘sponsorship’ system. It is a worker sponsorship program that jeopardizes basic human rights of migrant workers, allowing working conditions that amount to modern slavery to flourish. This system has left thousands of migrant workers in Qatar vulnerable to forced labor and other human rights abuses, often without the ability to change jobs or even leave the country.

Qatar’s kafala system

Since 2018, the Qatari government and the International Labour Organization have collaborated on a series of reforms to the kafala sponsorship system.

In 2020, the Emir of Qatar abolished restrictions on migrant workers changing jobs without their employer’s permission and introduced a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals, in addition to giving basic living allowances for some workers. Previously, migrant workers required a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from their employer to demonstrate they had their employers’ permission to change jobs. Furthermore, a Wage Protection System was announced to ensure migrant workers are receiving their wages from employers.

Hailed as “ambitious and comprehensive” these reforms signaled the beginning of potentially transformative legislation governing low-paid migrant workers in the country. However, a lack of enforcement and effective implementation of reforms continues to present barriers to low-paid migrant workers exercising their rights and seeking remedies for abuses committed against them.

Bide was forced to do his job in terrible working conditions, in the blistering heat without safety precautions or pay. With no other option open to him, he returned home saddled with debt. While Bide ultimately left his job and returned home to tell his story, thousands of other employees never got that chance. Many others’ experiences are even worse; construction workers often have their wages withheld, are denied exit visas, are housed in dirty, unsafe conditions, and are forced to work long hours with little rest despite the high heat.

Now is the time to keep up the pressure. Qatar’s Ministry of Labor made promises to make substantial reforms to the kafala system, ensuring the protection of migrant workers.

Though we were pleased to see that the Qatari government had introduced new laws to reform the kafala system, full implementation is still lacking. Activists and lawyers working on the ground say that a lack of sufficient resources and the sheer volume of cases is the real cause of the lag for the new law.

“They’ve only abolished the kafala system on paper. It’s the same if not harder to change jobs” says Malcolm Bidali, an activist and blogger on migrant rights who worked under exploitative conditions in Qatar as a security guard.

When the 2022 World Cup is over, there will be fewer eyes on Qatar and less urgency for the Qatar government to implement these crucial reforms, and protect workers’ rights and freedom.

Call on the Qatari authorities to deliver on the critical reforms they promised and end forced labor. Help improve the working conditions of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in Qatar.


Watch ‘Undercover film of life inside Qatar’s labor camps’ by Equal Times

  • December 16, 2022: Ahead of the World Cup final and International Migrants Day, Freedom United and Be Slavery Free urge FIFA and Qatar to compensate and protect migrant workers from exploitation and abuse. Read our open letter.

  • November 24, 2022: The European Parliament adopts a resolution calling on FIFA to pay up for exploited migrant workers and the families of those who died. Read more.

  • November 21, 2022: Our partners Be Slavery Free presented 5,700+ Freedom United signatures to the Australian Senate. Senator Thorpe referenced the action in her Senate speech which you can listen to here!

  • November 17, 2022: We launched a powerful new campaign film ahead of the World Cup calling on football fans to think of fallen migrant workers each time a player falls in the tournament. Read our press release.

  • May 05, 2016: Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


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Steve S
Steve S
4 years ago

I would like to see the fans boycott the world Cup on mass, and leave the owners and contractors who employ these unfortunate tradesmen with an empty stadium and an absolutely crippling debt.

If this is the way that Qatar treats the people who build its country, they are not the world beating people they want us to believe.
They are marching straight back to the stone age, with their eyes firmly closed.

Visit Qatar and take a selfie with the slaves. “How’s that for a holiday slogan”.

John Bedigan
John Bedigan
6 years ago

You stop these barbarians when you stop doing business with them. The rotten corrupt football world should have pulled the plug on the world cup, knowing well what was going on, but completely brainless, money mad soulless footie players, their entourages, minders and bosses don’t give damn. Governments of all hues desperate for arms sales and industrial contracts, a piece of the petro-chemical El Dorado ensures the slavery is ignored. There’s nothing new here.

Peter Matthews
Peter Matthews
4 years ago

Another very effective way to show Qatar and other neighbouring countries that abuse emigrant workers is not to visit them or use their airlines.

Javara Nova
Javara Nova
4 years ago

FIFA, as an international body must stand up for justice and humanity. If it is unable to do that then they are worth nothing. BOYCOTT THE GAMES IN QATAR!
What will it take for Qatar to develop a heart… compassion for their fellow human beings?

Annamarie Jones
6 years ago

Sounds like some places I know in the United States,but I guess that helped Qatar become the wealthiest nation in the world, slave labor — SHAME – – SHAME –As it says in Proverbs better to be poor & honest, then rich & a cheater i.e. cheating people out of a living wage

Qatar: End forced labor


Help us reach 150,000

Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, Minister for administrative development, labor and social affairs,

Your Excellency,

While I applaud you for your public commitment to reform the kafala system in Qatar, the changes made to date are insufficient to protect migrant workers from forced labor and exploitation.

I ask that you take further steps to end forced labor by ensuring the strong implementation of reforms:

  1. Introducing and enforcing penalties on employers where the practice of contract substitution takes place, that forces workers to accept lower wages on arrival into Qatar.
  1. Ensuring migrant workers’ passports are returned, and that workers hold their own passports and are given their worker IDs, through more effective enforcement and implementation of current laws targeting employers.
  1. Removing impediments to workers leaving the country, and changing employers including any employer objections to exit visas.

Whilst these are important first steps in the fight to ensure basic worker rights, there is a need to go much further towards ending the abuse of migrant workers’ rights and ensure reforms are felt by workers on the ground.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue and I look forward to hearing further announcements and details of substantive reforms to end modern slavery in Qatar.


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