Qatar Will Need More Than a Penalty Kick to Repay Their Migrant Workers

The news has spread to every nook and corner of the world; there is rarely a single soul who has not yet heard about the most expensive, profligate international sporting tournament: the 2022 Qatar World Cup. However, what is not as well known and very intriguing once you learn about it, is what it took for such a low-populated yet rich country to build decades worth of infrastructure in the matter of just 12 years. While more people figure out about the contemptible bribery and corruption Qatar was involved in to win the rights to host the tournament in the first place, there are many who are unaware about the multifarious number of heinous human rights violations on migrant workers led by iniquitous Qatari leaders, for the sole purpose of constructing excessively lavish stadiums and other facilities. It is essential to recognize the plethora of these cases in which basic societal standards are being conveniently forgiven.

Once FIFA awarded Qatar the rights to host the 2022 World Cup on December 2, 2010 after multiple occurrences of bribery, the country had to fulfill their promise of making it the most lavish FIFA tournament ever at a staggering estimated cost of 200 billion dollars. Qatar was able to afford this due to their possession of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world, but money was not the problem; it was the labor. And, somehow, it was able to deliver this promise, building 8 stadiums, dozens of hotels, many transportation lines, and even a whole new tourist-centered city, all in just 12 years.

As experts started diving deeper into this development phenomenon, the answer as to how they did it became clear: migrant workers from all over their neighboring regions like South Asia and East Africa. These people were the best type of employees as they were low-paid and could easily be manipulated due to the large distance from their home land. Ever since FIFA announced the winner of the hosting bid, Qatar has brought in so many workers that they now make up 80% of the total Qatar population.

Now, you might be wondering why these migrant workers would ever want to sign-up for a job that could cause so much harm to them and their families. Researchers have dubbed this plan to recruit migrant workers the ‘Qatar Trap’ consisting of 6 parts that make the offer seem enticing but is inherently exploitative. It began with a recruitment fee, in which the potential candidates had to pay money to Qatar in order to just get recruited as a pawn; as they already paid the money, they would have a negative incentive to leave. This leads us to the next section of the trap because these workers cannot afford to dip into their savings for these costly fees so loaning from the bank is their only option, leaving their family in even more debt. Upon arriving at Qatar, the workers get their passports taken away to ensure that they don’t leave and are forced to sign documents written in Arabic, which they cannot read. And lastly, during the actual construction process, reports of worker conditions show that they are verbally abused by their bosses and are forced to work at dangerous sites, all while in the sweltering Qatar heat (average of 99°F during the summer). Also, cases of wage theft have been reported in which the project managers refuse to pay their workers until extreme work hours are accomplished.

All of these portions of the Qatar Trap have coalesced to form one massive, corporate-minded juggernaut who conveniently forgets about the basic rights that humans should receive and only focuses on maximizing profits and global rankings, leading to far too many injuries and even deaths.

However, the unfortunate circle of life will continue. Once the 2022 World Cup comes to an end and the final winner of the tournament is declared, everyone will have forgotten the atrocities it took to build the extravagant facilities, elaborate transportation systems, and exorbitant tourist attractions for Qatar to rake in massive boosts to their economy and international ranking while the migrant workers who labored for hours in the scorching Arabian sun receive nothing remotely close to what they deserve. 12 years of hard labor, human rights violations, and modern-day slavery just for 29 days of matches that are insignificant in the long-term; this crisis must be addressed before it sets precedent for future development plans and if no world leader is willing to step up against it, we the people must take action. Please visit Amnesty International to see how you can play a role in fighting for humanity.

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KRISHNA MANO

Hello! My name is Krishna Mano and I am an 10th Grader at City High School. This is my third year writing for the City Voice and first year as an editor. Apart from the newspaper, I am part of the Speech and Debate team, Student Ambassadors, and a board member of the NHS. Outside of school, my most favorite hobbies are reading, playing the violin, public speaking, and paddleboarding. If you have any questions about my articles, please contact me at krishna.mano.thecityvoice@gmail.com.

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