Friday, February 8, 2013

Migrant Workers in Russia Cheated Out of Promises

           Sochi, Russia is the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic games. In order to create the infrastructure needed to host the games,  at least 66 known migrant workers were hired to build stadiums and event sites. However, when it came time to pay the workers, the wages never came. The workers came from bordering countries in the Caucasus Mountains region such as Uzbekistan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, and Tajikistan. Their primary role was to work as carpenters, welders, and steel workers. The migrant workers were originally promised to be paid about $2 per hour. Housing was also promised to the workers, but when the arrived, the buildings were overcrowded and there was not always enough food for everyone. As for compensation, since no contracts were set up, the employers said they would only pay the workers when the job was deemed completed. In some cases, this took up to two months. If the workers were fired during this time, they would receive no wages, even for the work already completed. The actions taken by the employers of the migrant workers counteracts the IOC ideal of the Olympic Games serving as a force for good. These people are suffering in order to make the games happen for other people. There are chances hardly any of them will receive any compensation for their work and they have been suffering from lack of housing and sufficient food. Documented cases show that when the workers attempted to confront their employers about the injustices, they were expelled from Russia and did not receive anything they were promised.

          These human rights violations need to be addressed, or they defeat the purpose of the Olympic games. This is borderline slave labor. If there is no action taken before the Olympic games and this continues to get worse, some sort of response needs to occur either through sanctions or some other action. If the Russians are allowed to build an Olympics on slave labor meant to stand for the good of mankind, then it justifies other similar human rights violations in the future, which is unacceptable.

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