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The exploitation fuelling Dubai's construction boom

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October 20, 2008

In recent times Gizmag has reported on a wide array of innovative and breathtakingly extravagant developments that are transforming Dubai, from an energy-positive wind powered rotating skyscraper, to a one kilometer tall tower, and even an underwater hotel. But as recently told in a report worth highlighting from Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in The Guardian, there is another side to this equation, namely an exploited and poverty-stricken class of migrant workers.

According to the report , scores of Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan workers are being employed as laborers in order to feed Dubai’s need for extreme buildings. Outside of the glitz and glamour of Dubai itself, Abdul-Ahad describes “a city of labour camps” stretching out in the middle of the Arabian Desert whose residents earn around 400-450 dirhams (around US$108-122) a month and can afford little food to eat. They sleep ten men to a room and live in deplorable conditions and the situation is even more crowded. UN agencies estimate around 300,000 illegal workers are currently employed within the in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Dubai is certainly not the only place to be exploiting scores of migrant workers for its own purposes. There are examples from all corners of the globe - whether it’s Mexican farm hands in Canada, rural migrants in China, Eastern European factory workers in Northern Ireland or South East Asian women exploited in the sex trade industry, many nations are guilty of these types of human rights violations. And it's not just governments and large corporations that are ultimately responsible, as holiday-makers and consumers we are all part of this very complex global economic web. The solutions certainly aren't easy, but being aware of these issues and using that knowledge to help inform our day to day choices must be a good place to start.

Read the full article in the: The Guardian.

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