As you know, we always wonder at the grandeur of Dubai’s buildings: the tallest buildings in the world, the longest bridges, and the weirdest architecture imaginable. When Addy and I were there last year, we marvelled at this explosion of concrete, glass, and steel with our own eyes. But we never saw the other side, the misery behind the splendour, the 300,000 illegal almost-slaves who live crammed into labour camps, working–and often dying or getting injured–for a few dollars a day. Fortunately, the Guardian’s correspondant Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reminds us about it.
All of these men are part of a huge scam that is helping the construction boom in the Gulf. Like hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, they each paid more than £1,000 to employment agents in India and Pakistan. They were promised double the wages they are actually getting, plus plane tickets to visit their families once a year, but none of the men in the room had actually read their contract. Only two of them knew how to read.
Once they arrive in the United Arab Emirates, migrant workers are treated little better than cattle, with no access to healthcare and many other basic rights. The company that sponsors them holds on to their passports – and often a month or two of their wages to make sure that they keep working. And for this some will earn just 400 dirhams (£62) a month.
You can read his complete article at The Guardian site. [The Guardian]