GlassFrog strives to give a voice to everyone unwilling to accept the status quo of international aid and to create impactful solutions to global issues. Visit our new website for up to date information on our work. www.glassfrog.org

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dubai’s Dirty Little Secret

In January, 2011, a good friend of mine visited Dubai for the first time. I asked her to describe her first impressions to me.

Well, my first impression was that it is very, very shiny. Everything looks new, clean, and well-kept. There’s no garbage. Due to the smog, from a distance, the skyline has a surreal quality to it, as if it’s a mirage. The buildings look futuristic; they resembled old paintings done in the 60s and 70s about “what the future will look like.”

She then described to me what it was like when she was returning from a desert safari shortly after arriving in Dubai.

When coming back from the desert safari, Dubai looked like an ultramodern oasis. Except, instead of travelling through miles of desert and finally discovering simply water and growth, you discover glittering buildings and perfectly-groomed parks and public areas.

Tourism is an important part of the Dubai government’s strategy to make money through foreign cash flows. The tourism industry contributed significantly to Dubai’s economic recovery in recent years. In 2009, revenues from tourism were Dh.12.4 billion, and have continuously risen, reaching Dh13.2 billion in 2010.  Dubai is now one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. (Source: Dubai tourism revenues reach Dh13.2b)



But as we are admiring the skyline, beaches and shopping, who is working behind to scenes to build Dubai’s breathtaking buildings? Dubai has returned to the past to build a futuristic atmosphere by using migrant workers for modern day slavery.

Watch this short video on Dubai Slave Builders.

Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, slave under Dubai’s extremely hot weather conditions to build the complex and picturesque buildings we find in Dubai. They work for around only 30 pence a day, and return to their residences at the end of the day where they sleep 6, 8 or 10 men to a room, with no privacy. The migrant workers are treated unfairly, their health is jeopardized, and they are alone, since they cannot bring their loved-ones with them to Dubai. Though these workers are making an extremely small amount of money for the conditions they work under, they are still making around triple the amount they might make back home. But is this enough compensation to justify all the pain they endure? 

Tourism has a huge effect on Dubai’s economy. Perhaps, to an extent, the migrant workers do not want to be taken out of these conditions because it is their best option for making enough money to support their families. But should we, as travellers, bring tourism to a place that uses the work done by modern day slaves to attract us? Our tourism has a huge effect on Dubai’s economy. I think that we should use the bargaining power this gives us to help fight for better conditions for these modern day slaves.

GlassFrog blogger, Sherisse

55 comments:

  1. Sherisse thank you for bringing attention to this problem.

    Please note however that these poor workers do not earn more money than they would back home.

    In fact, they are often lured to the UAE on promises of good wages. These workers are duped into paying out huge amounts to middlemen for visas allowing them to work in the UAE. Once they reach the UAE, they discover the reality is altogether different.

    From the moment they set foot in the UAE their passports are seized by their UAE employer (also known as their 'sponsor'). Their working conditions are terrible. They suffer intolerable heat with temperatures reaching 54 degrees celsius (129 degrees farenheit) in August, long working hours (often 12 hour shifts), squalid labour camps where they are transported on buses without air conditioners, and kept segregated from the rest of Dubai in accomodation without running water, proper sanitation, and 10 men to a room.

    For all that, they are often not even paid their wages on time or at all. They have no right to strike or form labour unions - if they do the penalty is imprisonment and deportation.

    See the following link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  2. History is not the past, but a map of the past drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveler.
    Flights to Kathmandu
    Cheap Flights to Kathmandu
    Cheap Air Tickets to Kathmandu

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is such a informative blog ...Desert Safari Dubai is adventuring place,where you can drive 4*4 and ride camel.
    Desert safari

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dhow Cruise Dubai is one of the best place where you can enjoy with friends and family.

    ReplyDelete
  5. this blog is very nice with good information kindly share your thought about Dubai .


    Desert Safari in Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  6. you can enjoy your trip of Dubai Desert Safari with friends and family..

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dubai Desert Safari is very nice blog i love to visit it again and again

    ReplyDelete
  8. desert safari dubai is one of the best place where you can have dinner and enjoy also cruise journey...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Desert Safari in Dubai is one of the best place where you can enjoy with friends and family...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dubai Desert Safari is very famous place for tour i love it very much nice work

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dubai Desert Safari is one of the nice and good place to have fun with friends and family.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great blog you shared with us kindly share some information about desert safari dubai..

    ReplyDelete
  13. very nice and great information i like your blog very much Dhow Cruise Dubai is also nice place to have dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great place where you can enjoy you dinner with your friends and family is dhow cruise dubai..

    ReplyDelete
  15. one of the best thing where you can enjoy your trip in dubai desert safari trip can you share some information..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dubai Desert Safari is one of the great place to enjoy your desert fun in Dubai.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. your blog is very nice i am try to make a blog about dhow cruise dubai from where i can get good information.

    ReplyDelete
  19. very nice blog i want to know more about Dubai Desert Safari because i am planning to come dubai.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dhow Cruise Dubai is place where people have dinner on cruise..

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great place where you can enjoy your Dhow Cruise Dubai with Dinner..

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  24. One of the best thing where you can enjoy your trip of Dubai Dhow Cruise..

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dubai Dhow Cruise great place where you can enjoy your trip..

    ReplyDelete
  26. your blog is very nice i want to make a blog about Dubai Desert Safari can you share some ideas how do i promote this...

    ReplyDelete
  27. great place where you can enjoy your trip of Dubai one of the nice in Dubai Is Desert Safari Dubai Tours..

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dubai Desert Safari one of the best thing where you can enjoy your trip...

    ReplyDelete
  29. Desert Safaris Dubai is one of the best thing in dubai where you can have fun with dinner..

    ReplyDelete
  30. one of the best place where you can enjoy your trip of U.A.E trip Desert safaris Dubai..

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Desert Safari Dubai Tours one of the best thing where you can enjoy your trip..

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dhow Cruise Dubai - exciting way to spend your time in Dubai.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you so much for share the great information..!!
    Arun Panchariya in Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  35. Dhow Cruise Dubai is best place to have dinner with your family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
  36. one of the best place in Dubai where you can enjoy Desert Safari Dubai..

    Dubai desert safari rates | Dubai desert safari

    ReplyDelete
  37. dubai is really awesome city for fun and entertainment nice blog thanks...escorts in Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  38. Awesome submit which has got me considering about the potential of this concept. Truly actually wonderful.
    best desert safari dubai operator

    ReplyDelete