Forced labor in Qatar 2022: Working 77 hours a week in cramped conditions

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Human rights group Sherpa said that a construction firm in Qatar is continuing to violate the rights of migrant workers employed to build sites for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Sherpa said it was lodging its complaint against Vinci together with another nongovernmental organization CCEM (Committee Against Modern Slavery) and six former Vinci workers from India and Nepal.

The allegations are levelled at Vinci’s Construction Grand Projects division as well as its QDVC unit, which is 51% owned by Qatari Diar, the property arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.

Sherpa said it had gathered new testimonies and elements in 2018 in India, where some of the migrant workers originated from. It accuses the groups and their managers of deliberately endangering people’s lives, forced labor and a failure to provide first aid assistance to workers.

It also says employees had to work between 66 and 77 hours a week, on wages that were a fraction of average salaries in Qatar, and were housed in cramped conditions, violating international labor standards.

Sherpa said witnesses had described workers vomiting and suffering from weakness in excessive heat.

Vinci, which denied on Thursday the new allegations, counts Qatar as its second-biggest shareholder, and has several major projects in Qatar linked to the soccer tournament, including a metro line in Doha and a highway.

Qatar has faced several allegations of migrant worker abuse and, under increased scrutiny as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

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