This morning, at one end of Kathmandu’s international airport, proud parents will bid farewell to their sons leaving Nepal in search of better jobs. But for the last month, the scene has been very different at the arrival terminal where wailing parents are met with the bodies of construction workers who died working in Qatar. Three to four bodies arriving daily.1
Is this just the beginning? 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 week2 unless action is taken at this critical stage in the construction process.
We might have an opportunity to stop this crisis before it gets any worse… but time is short. Recent media coverage has caught the attention of international leaders and the Qatari government and most importantly – FIFA.3
Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup by FIFA. With their formidable leverage, FIFA could help ensure slavery is not tolerated in Qatar or in any country FIFA seeks partnership.
Reports of modern slavery from World Cup 2022 construction in the Qatari desert are chilling:
- In a matter of weeks, 44 construction workers have died.
- Thousands of Nepalese workers are being forced to work in 50C/122F degree heat with no access to food or water, not paid, passports held to prevent them from leaving.4
- And just last week, investigative journalists were detained and questioned by Qatari authorities.5
Historically, there have been serious challenges to protecting migrant workers from modern slavery inQatar. 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.
This is our moment. 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 have been waiting for in the entire region.
We’re asking FIFA to:
- Call on the Qatari Supreme Committee for Qatar 2022 to update contracts to meet international labour standards.
- 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.
- Publicly report the findings of audits for cases of modern slavery.
Thank you in advance for your support. Once you have taken action, please forward this message on to everyone you know. Together we have helped changed policy all over the world; together we can help end slavery in Qatar.
Debra, Mich, Jess, Kamini, Sarah, Nick, Kate, Kyle and the Walk Free Team
 Fédération Internationale de Football Association
Walk Free is a movement of people everywhere, fighting to end one of the world’s greatest evils: Modern slavery.
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