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ARE: Migrant Labor Camps

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 01: Migrant labourers take a break at a beach popular with tourists in the Dubai Marina area on May 1, 2006 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The workers are on sites that are right next to the beach and often come down and stare at the tourists who are a cultural anomaly for the workers. It is a glaring metaphor for privelige in a society where the vast majority of people earn less than $200 a month and work in virtual servitude. Recently there was trouble in Dubai as migrant labourers protested at harsh working conditions and pay disputes. The labourers work long shifts on the 24 hour sites and the labour camps are often over 2 hours away. The workers typically work a 12 hour shift in tough conditions. The majority of labourers come to Dubai from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These workers operate in extreme temperatures in the desert climate, the majority earning under $200 a month. Many have to spend a third of that sum on food provided at the camps as part of their contract. Most sign recruitment contracts in their own countries which take them into debt for many years. Their passports are held by their employers once they reach the UAE and if the company owners abscond the workers are often abandoned without their documents or due payment. Over two thirds of the Dubai population is migrant labour with 1.1 million working in construction. Dubai is currently second only to Shanghai in terms of the scale of construction underway on a 24 hour basis. All this is woefully underscrutinised by the Ministry of Labour, there are currently only 80 government inspectors for over 200 000 construction companies. Recently there have been rumblings of discontent from the workers, with strikes at numerous sites over the non-payment of wages and harsh working conditions. In 2005, according to Human Rights Watch, there were 84 suicides by construction workers in Dubai. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
ARE: Migrant Labor Camps
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