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Ensuring safe migration of workers to the gulf

India ranks as the second country in the world that sends the largest migrant workforce. According to the World Bank it sent 11.4 million migrants in 2010 alone globally, and the Government of India estimates that almost 90 per cent of migrants go  to the Middle East.

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar its construction industry is booming. It is estimated that almost 500,000 Indians work in Qatar (2012) which is over one quarter of the total population of Qatar.

Yet international media have reported on the arduous conditions of work, torture, widespread forced labour and even the death of Indian and Nepalese workers at the construction sites in Qatar.

Despite this, thousands of Indians and Nepalese (transiting through India) migrate to Qatar every year, many without knowing what the risks are of what they’re getting themselves into.

Anti-Slavery International is working with local partners Centre for Education and Communication (CEC) to ensure that migrant workers - naturally seeking a better life for their families - are protected against exploitation, human rights abuses, forced labour and human trafficking.

The project provides safe migration training and easy-to-read materials to thousands of potential migrants and their families. It is crucial that workers are aware of the situation that they may encounter in Qatar, so that they can make an informed choice about whether to migrate. If they do decide to go, workers and families know their rights and how to seek assistance.

The project aims to inform workers of the possibilities and challenges of migrating, empowering them with knowledge of correct recruitment policies and procedures. It aims to enhance their ability to access rights and entitlements, including safe remittance channels, and empowering them to resolve crisis situations, among other aims.

The training takes place in Delhi and in districts of Uttar Pradesh with particularly high numbers of migration to the Gulf. To ensure sustainability and increase our reach, we also train local civil society organisations and trade unions, so that they can provide similar information and assistance in the future.

This project is funded by the UNISON International Development Fund and The Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

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Migrant workers in Middle EastMigrant workers working on construction sites in the Middle East
© Pete Pattisson

Migrant workers queuing in Middle EastNepali workers queuing for permits to migrate to the Middle East
© Pete Pattisson