Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in FIFA’s more bureaucratic forms of corruption and forget that the biggest crime by far that soccer’s governing body has committed was aiding and abetting the workplace atrocities that are so prevalent in Qatar.
Qatar Exposed, Era Films’ new interactive documentary commissioned by the International Trade Union Confederation, reminds you just how deplorable the situation is over there for the country’s migrant workers. The video, which you can watch below or over here, consists of interviews with the workers who’ve suffered hardships while working Qatar.
You can see firsthand the cramped and unhygienic living conditions so many workers are stuffed into, hear one man’s story of how he was severely injured on the job yet received no medical assistance from his company and is now stuck there trying to fight for compensation in the courts, an anonymous female worker from the Philippines who had to run away from her sponsor’s house where she lived when he tried to rape her, a handful of Nepalese and Indian workers who completed their two-year mandatory stays and yet haven’t received the pay and visas they need to return home, and a bunch more.
One worker, when asked what he would say to the Qatari government that has codified this form of modern slavery into its legal system and flouts all attempts to remedy the situation, had this to say:
I want to say that: we are human beings. We are not animals. The Qatar government treats us like animals. You can watch this room. [Gestures to the small room with at least three sets of board-thin bunk beds.] But we are human beings, no? Same thing like the Qataris. If they have money—we don’t have money. That’s the different thing. If we had lots of money, we don’t have to come here. We don’t have to stay like animals here.
Make no mistake, though: fault for this does not lie only with Qatar. It lies with FIFA; with the individual federation members that supported Qatar’s World Cup, which the ITUC now projects will involve over 7,000 migrant worker deaths before the 2022 Cup begins; with the brands that feign ignorance on these and other nefarious matters except when taking the easiest of token stands; and everyone else involved with the propagation and profiteering off of the biggest sporting event in the world. And the saddest part is that no one who could stop it seems all that interested in doing so.
Photo via AP