development human rights social justice transport

the two faces of Dubai

“It sends another message to the world that Dubai has a vision like no other place on Earth,” Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem declared last week as he unveiled plans to build the world’s tallest tower. Again. The tower will be a kilometre high, over 200 storeys, and will trump the half-built Burj Dubai as the tallest building in the world. It will take ten years to built, and 30,000 construction workers. 

Those workers are likely to be slaves in all but name. Indian and Pakistani workers pay £1000 to agencies to get them jobs in Dubai. They are promised good pay and paid trips home. When they arrive, they find they live 20 men to a room, working 18 hour shifts for $70 a month. They cannot afford to get home.

Dubai is enriching itself on slave labour. It is not a symbol of wealth, luxury and progress. It is a symbol of greed and oppression.


  1. I just thought that I’d point out that there are actually 300 000 workers in this situation not 30 000. Easy mistake though. Thanks for sharing. Your blog is one of my favourites. 🙂

  2. Thanks Rose, the 30,000 just refers to the number of workers on that one building project, and I guess the 300,000 is the total workers in the country.

    Just been across to Radical Frugality, by the way, which looks great.

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