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29 Okt 2018

Pete Pattisson, The Guardian

Migrants claim recruiters lured them into forced labour at top Qatar hotel

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... The [Marsa Malaz Kempinski] hotel, which opened in 2015, is popular with Qatar’s elite, who gather at weekends to enjoy its lavish rooms and beachfront location. However, life is very different for the men and women who guard the cars, clean the rooms and manicure the lawns. They come from some of the poorest parts of the world... but have paid large recruitment fees, some as high as £3,160, to work here. Paying fees to recruitment agents to secure a job in Qatar is a widespread practice, but leaves workers vulnerable to debt bondage and forced labour. The security guards endure 12-hour shifts outdoors in temperatures that can top 45C, but earn little more than £8 a day... Some say they have worked for three or four months without a day off, but are fined five days’ pay if caught sleeping on duty. Some say they have worked for three or four months without a day off, but are fined five days’ pay if caught sleeping on duty. Interviews with 19 hotel staff reveal multiple allegations of breaches of Qatar’s labour laws, including salaries below the minimum wage. Responding to [the] allegations... Kempinksi Hotels said it had launched an investigation. “Marsa Malaz Kempinksi takes the allegations very seriously,” said a spokesperson. “We are committed to abiding by the highest ethical standards as an international luxury hotel operator. Equally, we expect all subcontracting companies to abide by these same standards. Due to the severity of these allegations, we have launched an investigation and will take appropriate remedial action as required”...