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Anglican Alliance calls for action on migrants

11 October 2013


Underway: construction work in Doha, Qatar, in 2010

Underway: construction work in Doha, Qatar, in 2010

GLOBAL regulation of the international recruitment industry must be introduced by the UN, the Anglican Alliance has said, in the wake of allegations about the abuse of migrant workers involved in building projects for the World Cup in Qatar.

The Alliance, which works for international development across the Anglican Communion, is calling for a crackdown on rogue recruitment agencies. Such bodies have been known to force people into hard labour and prostitution, trapping them in virtual slavery by charging extortionate fees.

The Alliance's submission will be presented at a UN meeting on migration next month. It will say: "The line between migration and trafficking is increasingly blurred: what starts as voluntary migration . . . ends in the misery of sweated labour." In a five-point plan, it is also calling for action on pay, and on verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.

Its proposals were published as allegations were being made about migrants workers from Nepal who are building facilities for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. The Guardian reported that dozens of Nepalese workers had died.

The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, said that he would meet the new Emir of Qatar to discuss labour conditions, but that he would not threaten to move the tournament.

The head of Qatar's World Cup organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, said that the tournament would not be "built on the blood of innocents", and that the government was committed to tackling the abuse.

Some 214 million people are migrant workers - the equivalent in numbers to the fifth biggest country in the world. The Anglican Alliance says that the biggest concentration is in Qatar, where 87 per cent of workers are estimated to be migrants.

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