Dying to Bring You the World Cup, Qatar Faces "Slavery" Charges

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 25 2013 5:50 PM

Dying to Bring You the World Cup, Qatar Faces "Slavery" Charges

A construction worker digs at a building site in the Qatari capital Doha.

Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images

When Qatar was named the host country of the 2022 World Cup almost three years ago, there were murmurs about whether it could pull it off successfully. But, that was more from the fan perspective: simmering summer heat in the country, restrictions on alcohol consumption, and other mismatched cultural norms were the biggest worries.

But, still almost a decade off, Qatar’s cup run has landed it in a new controversy: alleged labor abuses. The Guardian published an investigative piece on Wednesday documenting horrific treatment of migrant laborers in the country helping to prepare for soccer's crown jewel. The paper levies a serious charge: thousands of Nepalese workers, the country’s largest migrant community, “face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery.” According to the Guardian, during the summer heat “Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks.”


Here are more of the abuses from the Guardian:

Evidence of forced labour on a huge World Cup infrastructure project.
• Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and have had their salaries retained to stop them running away.
• Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens.
• Some labourers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the desert heat.
• About 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape the brutal conditions of their employment.

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, charged with organizing the World Cup, told the Guardian it was "deeply concerned with the allegations that have been made against certain contractors/sub-contractors working on Lusail City's construction site and considers this issue to be of the utmost seriousness."

Correction (Sept. 26, 2013): The original post misstated the year that Qatar will host the World Cup, it will be held in 2022. Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in December 2010, not last year, as the post originally stated.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

Even by Russian Standards, Moscow’s Anti-War March Was Surprisingly Grim

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 22 2014 1:22 PM Is Arabic Really Just One Language? 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Sept. 22 2014 1:10 PM One Photographer’s Beautiful and Devastating Response to Climate Change
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.