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7 Apr 2022

Amnesty International

'They think that we're machines': forced labour and other abuse of migrant workers in Qatar's private security sector

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The plight of migrant construction workers across Qatar has been well documented over many years. While these people make up a large part of the workforce, they are not alone in their struggle for labour rights in the country. Now, with World Cup stadiums virtually complete, focus must turn to all those who will provide the services essential for the tournament.

Amongst them are the tens of thousands of people employed in Qatar’s private security sector. In this report, Amnesty International shows how – despite important labour reforms of the kafala sponsorship system since 2017 – migrant workers across this sector continue to be subjected to serious labour abuses that sometimes amount to forced labour.

In total, Amnesty International interviewed 59 guards and other security workers employed or formerly employed in eight private security companies operating in Qatar...

The accounts of the workers that Amnesty researchers interviewed reveal a wide range of other labour abuses taking place in all eight companies. These include excessive working hours, lack of rest days, and arbitrary or disproportionate financial penalties, as well as underpayment of overtime work, potentially dangerous working conditions, substandard living conditions and discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, and language...