Qatar is a small country with few people (1.87 million of which only 300,000 are citizens), yet it casts a giant shadow over N. Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It has the highest GDP per capita in the world and the highest energy reserves per capita in the world. While it treats its women more liberally than S. Arabia does, it has been indicted for immigrant labour violations and human trafficking. It is notorious for how badly it treats its foreign workers.
The U.S. Department of States 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report reports:
"Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. [They] voluntarily migrate to Qatar as low-skilled laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude. These conditions include threats of serious physical or financial harm; withholding of pay; charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports, travel documents, and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; threats of filing false charges against the worker; and physical, mental, and sexual abuse. In some cases, arriving migrant workers have found that the terms of employment in Qatar are different from those they agreed to in their home countries; businesses and individuals in Qatar reportedly promised migrants employment opportunities that never materialized.
Why would such a rich country treat its invitee workers so meanly? (continue reading...)