Narayan Nepali knows the horror of forced labour in Qatar first-hand. He travelled from Nepal on the promise of a well-paid job. When he arrived his passport was confiscated by an employer and his nightmare began." border="0" class="em_full_width" height="200" src=" https://aaf1a18515da0e792f78-
Narayan Nepali knows the horror of forced labour in Qatar first-hand. He travelled from Nepal on the promise of a well-paid job. When he arrived his passport was confiscated by an employer and his nightmare began.
Unfortunately, as construction for the football World Cup 2022 intensifies, more migrant workers will be vulnerable to forced labour than ever before.
What allows this human rights violation to continue? The kafala system. Under Qatar's kafala system employers can prevent foreign workers from changing their jobs or even leaving the country, without recourse, allowing slavery-like conditions to flourish. Narayan was forced to work in the blistering heat without safety precautions, which cost a friend and fellow worker his life. And without access to his passport, he had no freedom to leave.
Many others’ experiences are even worse; workers often have their wages withheld, are denied exit visas, are housed in dirty, unsafe conditions and forced to work long hours with little rest despite the high heat. Thankfully, Narayan found help and survived to tell his story.
The Minister of Labour promised to make substantial reforms to the kafala system ensuring the protection of migrant workers. These promises were made last year, but we must make it clear they are not forgotten.
We’ve seen significant improvements to the kafala system in Bahrain, Kuwait and other neighbouring countries. Now it’s time for Qatar to safeguard its migrant workers.
Eugenia, Joanna, David and the teams at Walk Free & ITUC
P.S. Long hours in the blazing heat, low pay and squalid housing, are a daily reality for thousands of workers — help call for change in Qatar now.