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Trapped in Qatar: Workers Say They Haven’t Been Paid in a Year (Video)

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Posted on Jul 28, 2014

  As this park in Doha, Qatar, illustrates, it can be a scenic and beautiful country for some. But all that glamour is put together by people who are routinely exploited. Shutterstock

The rush to build up Qatar’s infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup has come at an appalling human cost.

Hundreds of migrant workers have died in the past few years, some from construction accidents, some from suicide, and others mysteriously slip away while sleeping, possibly due to heart attack. According to government records, at least 144 migrants have been killed in traffic accidents, alone.

For those who survive, it’s no picnic. A group of workers say they’ve been building out a luxury office building without pay for more than a year. The site is used by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is organizing the Cup.

Not only have they not been paid, the men allege, but since their original employer went belly-up, their promised wages have been reduced and, according to an investigation by The Guardian, they’re living in absolute squalor.

A 35-year-old Nepalese worker quoted by The Guardian says he wants to go home, but can’t: “If I had money to buy a ticket I would go home.”

Qatari authorities say they are working to address the situation and improve the lives of workers. However one worker complains to The Guardian that he can’t afford the taxi fare to get to court in order to make his case for back wages.

 

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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