The latest and most compelling evidence to date arrived in a special report, delicately titled the “Case Against Qatar,” issued by the International Trade Union Commission. The report delivers a litany of shocks, including this staggering estimate: Some 4,000 migrant construction workers will die in service to the 2022 Cup before it even begins.
That’s actually a conservative estimate. About 1,200 workers have died since 2010, when Qatar was first awarded the tournament. Construction is only just beginning to ramp up. The ten or so stadiums that remain to be built are but a small fraction of the World Cup projects on the books. There will be a new airport, subway lines, roads, 100-plus hotels and so much more. As the opening kick-off approaches, hundreds of thousands of additional migrant workers — who already make up more than half the country’s population of 2 million — will flood into Qatar.
They can look forward to sharing a single room with eleven other workers — along with a single toilet — in labor camps run by slumlords and patrolled by security guards. Leaving the country is not an option; employers confiscate workers’ passports. Maybe if you’re lucky, after several years of service your company manager will allow you to go home for a few days to visit your loved ones; that is, if you leave a deposit of a few hundred dollars to ensure your return to work.