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Qatar World Cup:US raises alarm over worker’s exploitation

Qatar World Cup: US raises alarm over worker’s exploitation

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup billed for November in Qatar, the United States of America says that workers in Qatar’s informal economy are at risk of exploitation during the mundial.

Speaking to Reuters, the U.S. Under Secretary of State Uzra Zeya said the country is worried about what could happen to the informal sector of the host country economy while calling on Doha to engender measures to  prosecute human traffickers and identify their victims.

Qatar has been in the news for wrong reasons as the world most celebrated football event gathers momentum especially over human rights abuse and poor treatment of migrant workers.

“The World Cup presents a challenge in terms of the increased likelihood or possibilities to exploit vulnerable migrant workers and it’s all the more important to enforce the laws in place and to see more efforts to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking,” Zeya said on Sunday during a visit to Doha.

“This is often a hidden crime and for particularly those in the informal economy … who have less access, let’s say, to law enforcement or to other institutions in place of protection,” added Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.

While it’s expecting 1.2 million visitors, Qatar is said to be currently recruiting thousands of overseas temporary workers to support its workforce for the World Cup.

Doha has also denied a 2021 Amnesty International report that thousands of migrant workers were still being exploited and said its labour law are now taking shape.

The US Diplomat commended labour reforms introduced by Qatar in recent years but noted that “challenges” implementing the new rules which include protections against non-payment of wages, a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 riyals ($275) and allowing workers to change employers more easily are still undermining the full blown of the law.

Zeya expects Qatar to be more agressive towards implementing the laws while expressing her disappointment of the government recently reopened a shelter for human trafficking victims that shut during the pandemic, saying “if fully implemented, they would really represent Qatar assuming a great leadership role regionally”.

According to the State Department’s 2022 Trafficking in Persons report, Qatar, despite some efforts towards combating is yet to meet the U.S. government’s minimum requirements for the elimination of human trafficking.

Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2010 despite allegations of bribery and corruption in the bid process.

According to the Guardian, more than 6, 500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian can reveal

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