World Cup host Qatar is only just beginning to understand that it has a “huge problem” with the “forced labour” of South Asian migrants, the publishers of the first Global Slavery Index said on Friday.
Qatar is under mounting pressure to end the exploitation of migrant workers as it embarks on a multi-billion-dollar construction programme for the 2022 football World Cup.
The Australia-based Walk Free Foundation, which launched its inaugural index this week in London, said the spotlight would remain on the Gulf emirate as the tournament gets closer.
The report released this week — a first attempt to measure the issue worldwide — estimated that there were between 4,000 and 4,400 people in what it terms modern-day slavery in Qatar, out of a total resident population of two million.
“Qatar has millions of migrants, who come from South Asia predominantly, working in the country and then has a huge problem with those migrants, many of them being subject to forced labour,” the foundation’s chief executive Nick Grono told AFP.
“In our index we’re trying to capture it but it’s an open issue about whether we’ve effectively captured the scale of that particular problem. But we’re very keen to work …