End Forced Labor in Qatar - FreedomUnited.org

End Forced Labor in Qatar

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.

Bide Majakoti knows the horror of forced labor and modern day slavery in Qatar first-hand. He travelled 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 with 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.

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 riyal, 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 remedy 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 get 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 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 less eyes on Qatar and less urgency for the Qatar government to implement these crucial reforms, 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

  • 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.

  • November 6, 2022: Ten European Football Associations respond to FIFA and say that human rights are universal and must be applied everywhere. Read more.

  • November 4, 2022:  Our partners at Be Slavery Free presented 5,000+ Freedom United signatures to Football Australia urging them to support a compensation fund for  migrant workers. We’re disappointed. Football Australia didn’t agree to support calls on FIFA to set aside at least $440 million and said they have nothing to add to their existing statement.

    Read media coverage of our hand-in:

  • May 05, 2016: Campaign Launches

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Steve S
Steve S
3 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”.

Maurice O'Reilly
Maurice O'Reilly
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve S

spot on/but will the football world and the world at large see the inhumane treatment of these poor unfortunate people who leave family thousands of miles away just to sustain life and family/To punish this arrogant behaviour it is best to travel by any airline that treats migrant workers with empathy and consideration

Peter Matthews
Peter Matthews
3 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.

KEVIN
KEVIN
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Matthews

So true Mr Matthews.

John Bedigan
John Bedigan
4 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.

Grindl
Grindl
1 year ago
Reply to  John Bedigan

Hear hear, this is as bad as all the money grabbing companies that operate in our societies e.g. Amazon, Google etc. Our politicians are just as bad for allowing such behaviour by companies and those in charge of decisions at top levels!

Bernice Taylor
Bernice Taylor
4 years ago
Reply to  John Bedigan

Well said. My sentiments exactly!

Kate
Kate
4 years ago
Reply to  John Bedigan

Well said!

Javara Nova
Javara Nova
3 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?
SHAME ON QATAR!

Dan McCaughern
Dan McCaughern
2 years ago
Reply to  Javara Nova

Agree with you Javara. But then wouldn’t the FIFA officials have to hand their bribes back?

Annamarie Jones
5 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

Victor Croasdale
Victor Croasdale
2 years ago

Whilst the US was built on slave labor and Indian bones, Qatar’s wealth comes from oil and gas. The widespread slave labor came later.

I lived in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for most of the 1980’s. In Saudi, I had women with law and teaching degrees from the Philippines working as hospital cleaners because they made more money in Saudi than at home. I had some really good Filipino technicians working for about $100 a month.

john
john
6 months ago

you did not mention that as a white male you earned 10times their salaries due to your skin colour— racism! you condone these highly educated women working as labourers because they make more money than in the phillipines? and you justify slave labour?

Qatar: End forced labor

Help us reach 150,000 actions
101,200

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.

Sincerely,

Freedom United will protect your privacy while updating you on campaigns, news and stories about modern slavery.


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