Construction for FIFA’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar started amidst serious allegations of forced labour. More than 1 million migrant workers were at risk of the nightmare of modern slavery, forced to work under the blistering sun, in poor and dangerous conditions, living in squalid accommodation, for little or no pay and worst of all prevented from leaving Qatar. We called on you for help, and you responded. Together with Change.org, Walk Free sent over 170,000 messages to FIFA, and they listened. FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter admitted that widespread abuse of migrant construction workers was "unacceptable" and that "fair working conditions with a lasting effect must be introduced quickly in Qatar". FIFA has now committed to working with the International Trade Union Confederation and the German Football Association to improve the unacceptable situation in Qatar.
At one end of Kathmandu’s international airport, proud parents bid farewell to their sons leaving Nepal in search of better jobs. But the scene is very different at the arrival terminal, where wailing parents are met with the bodies of family members who died in Qatar.
Thousands of Nepalese workers are being forced to work in 50C/122F degree heat with no access to food or water, no pay, passports held to prevent them from leaving. Experts estimate over 1 million migrant workers could be at risk of modern slavery in Qatar between now and the 2022 World Cup; an average of twelve workers could die per week unless action is taken at this critical stage in the construction process.
Historically, there have been serious challenges to protecting migrant workers from modern slavery in Qatar. But with the prestige of hosting the World Cup on the line, there has never been a better chance to push the Qatari government for change.
If FIFA takes advantage of this opportunity for policy reform, workers could be protected from falling into the nightmare of modern slavery in Qatar for generations to come. This could be the break we are waiting for in the entire region.
Tell FIFA to help ensure construction for the Qatar World Cup does not use slave labour:
1. Call on the Qatari Supreme Committee for Qatar 2022 to update contracts to meet international labour standards.
2. Include audit requirements for all contracts affiliated with FIFA sporting events that include large-scale construction projects for cases of modern slavery, with the initial bidding process.
3. Publicly report the findings of audits for cases of modern slavery.