Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Qatar will be hosting the 2022 World Cup. And as an astute Change.org reader, you also know that the country is grappling with a serious human trafficking problem. The U.S. State Department has put Qatar on its “Tier 2” watchlist for both the country's inability to comply with minimum standards to eliminate trafficking, and for failing to adequately prosecute criminals. But it’s not too late; the U.S. should use this international event to bring attention to trafficking in the region. Urge the State Department to allocate funds to foster anti-trafficking legislation in the region.
Each year, thousands of migrant workers from countries as diverse as India, the Philippines and Ethiopia travel to Qatar to work in nearly every industry in the country. These laborers are brought to the country on two-year contracts, which encourages a strict turnover rate to prevent lengthy residency. Unsurprisingly, these workers sometimes discover their terms of employment are vastly different than what they agreed to, and wind up in involuntary servitude.
In 2009, Qatar enacted a new migrant sponsorship law — which criminalizes some practices commonly used by traffickers — and also launched an outreach campaign. However, the government is still failing to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and the country is also lacking formal victim identification procedures. Per the State Department’s suggestions, the government needs to specifically target these problems by enacting a comprehensive anti-trafficking action plan. And the State Department can help them.
Specifically, they should 1.) aid Qatari civil society who are working on victim support and trafficking prevention and 2.) offer financial support and expertise to Qatar’s national anti-trafficking action plan.
The World Cup is the perfect opportunity to make this happen. However, if the U.S. ignores the problem, it will only get worse with this event — take, for example, the prevalence of sex trafficking at the World Cup in Johannesburg. We can stop this from happening again: tell the State Department to use discretionary funds to support its recommendations, and end trafficking in Qatar. Sign this petition! Then we can go back to whining about where to buy beer.
Photo Credit: Super MF
Support Soccer, Not Slavery, in Qatar | Change.org News