One month to kick-off but workers need much more -

One month to kick-off but workers need much more

  • Published on
    October 20, 2022
  • Written by:
    Freedom United
  • Category:
    Domestic Slavery, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Supply Chain
Hero Banner

In exactly one month today, host nation Qatar will play Ecuador in the opening game of the soccer World Cup 2022. Eyes have been on shocking conditions migrant workers endure in the Gulf state, pressuring the authorities to strengthen protections.

However in a new report, Amnesty International says human rights abuses “persist on a significant scale” and that “the job of protecting migrant workers is only half done”.

Campaigning impact

Freedom United began campaigning several years ago, concerned by the appalling conditions faced by migrant workers in Qatar, a reality that is replicated in many neighboring states, where racism towards foreign Black and brown workers alongside the restrictive immigration system, known as kafala, creates a toxic mix of disregard for protections of rights for migrant workers. During preparations for the World Cup, Qatar’s population surged as low income migrant workers were brought in.

Campaigning has made a difference with new laws including a minimum wage for workers, a pay security system intended to ensure that workers are paid, and greater freedom to change jobs or leave the country.

Speaking to The Guardian, Amnesty International said:

“Although Qatar has made important strides on labour rights over the past five years, it’s abundantly clear that there is a great distance still to go.

“With the World Cup looming, the job of protecting migrant workers from exploitation is only half done, while that of compensating those who have suffered abuses has barely started.”

“Progress must not grind to a halt once the World Cup roadshow leaves Doha. Turning a blind eye to the abuses suffered by thousands of migrant workers over the years flies in the face of their respective international obligations and responsibilities.”

Reports of exploitation continue

Amnesty’s report documents excessive overtime and a lack of time off with some workers expected to complete 18 hour shifts without a regular weekly day off. Their research also finds that despite legislative change to reform the kafala system, many workers are still having their wages withheld.

The World Cup was postponed several years ago to November from its usual date of June and July after concerns were raised about the impact of the extreme summer heat on players. However similar concerns were ignored for migrant workers; Amnesty argues that there has been insufficient research into its contribution towards the thousands of deaths of migrants working in construction.

Football Associations support compensation

Freedom United is calling on Football Associations to publicly support a compensation fund for migrant workers, equivalent to the prize money of $440 million. The Guardian reports that the United States Soccer Federation added its name to our call this week, joining other Associations in support, but Fifa and World Cup organizers have yet to confirm their commitment.

Send a message to Football Associations today to ensure that migrant workers are not left without help after the competition is over.

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Migrant workers jailed in Qatar over demands for owed wages

Five months on from the World Cup final, migrant workers continue to report exploitative labor practices and mistreatment at the hands of Qatari authorities. Three former security guards have been jailed in Qatar for four months following their repeated requests for unpaid wages from their employer, Stark Security Services. Though lauded by FIFA as an opportunity to improve Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, workers who toiled to make the world’s

| Friday May 26, 2023

Read more