Homeless in Doha

With the promise of paying jobs, the families of David and Paul sold their properties to fund their travel to Qatar. They worked as security guards at a World Cup stadium. The Fifa World Cup subcontractor Stark Security never paid them. They had to sleep rough.

By Sam Kunti

”We don’t have food. We haven’t eaten in two days. The court doesn’t take action [against unpaid wages]. We don’t have nothing.”

It’s a month after the World Cup and migrant workers David, 17, and Paul, 18, from Western Africa can’t see a way out of their predicament: they have no money, no food on the table and they have been told to leave their accommodation in Barwa Al Bahara, a labour camp south of the Industrial Area in Doha, Qatar’s capital. 

For months, the teenagers have been at the mercy of their employers, Stark Security, who provided manpower during the World Cup as well as the 2021 Arab Cup. They stood at Stadium 974 where Brazil danced their way past South Korea and Lionel Messi and Argentina defeated Poland 2-0 on the way to their coronation. But, while they guarded stadiums and other World Cup hubs, including the main media centre, David and Paul were never a true part of the glitz and glamour that Qatar presented to the world during the four-week sporting extravaganza.

Their families sold their properties for the pair to pay their way to Qatar, where they, from the moment of their arrival with promised jobs that never materialised, encountered a world of abuse and hardship. The World Cup brought renewed hope working for Stark Security, a Lusail-based company with 2000-plus personnel that lists ‘accountability’ as one of its core values online – b...

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