- Pete from Gowanus, who probably has more hair growing out of his ears than I could ever hope to have on my head at this point, alerts us to a segment coming up on this Friday's 20/20 on ABC that's entitled "The Dark Side of Dubai." We get a preview on ABC.com's The Blotter blog:
Dubai's building boom has been made possible by some 500,000 migrant construction workers, most from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Many work 12 hours a day, six days a week, in extremely hot temperatures that have led to illness and, in some cases, death. The workers live in crowded camps, with eight or more men sharing one small room.There's a lot more in the article, which you can read in its entirety here.
In the Human Rights Watch report, called "Building Towers, Cheating Workers," researchers say that the average migrant worker receives a salary of about $175 a month. There is no minimum wage in Dubai, and some workers make as little as $8 a day.
Just last week -- only days before Human Rights Watch report was released but a decade after the building boom began -- Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, ordered stricter enforcement of the country's labor laws.
Now here's a wild guess: Ray Paulick will not be dispatching Steve Haskin to Dubai to do an investigative piece on this story. You think? I'd also guess that the ratings in the Lexington area will be poor. It will not be the first time that a TV network has done a disturbing report on the United Arab Emirates. Last year, HBO's Real Sports checked in with their expose of the abuse of child camel jockeys in the UAE. I've never read anything that directly connects the Ruling Family of Dubai to that nasty bit, as it was alleged in the lawsuit filed in Florida against them. But the U.S. State Department, in its 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, noted that it was only in July, 2005 that the use of camel jockeys under 18 was banned in the UAE. The report goes on to suggest:
The U.A.E. should significantly increase prosecutions of all forms of trafficking, recognize forced labor as a form of trafficking even if the victim came to the U.A.E. willingly, and actively investigate trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation.Yet these reports have gained about as much traction in the industry media as does Funny Cide on a sloppy racetrack. The events that have transpired since Andy Beyer's column came out makes it quite easy to understand why.
- Yonkers Raceway is finally set to open on Friday. Having added 500 more machines last weekend, the casino established new records for last week, having netted $4.2 million, $2.3 million of that slated for education.
Purses, which stood at $45,000 a night when the track closed last year, will increase to an average of $100,000 a night next week, said Joseph Faraldo, president of the Standardbred Owners Association, the group representing horse owners, drivers and trainers. [Journal News]