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Qatar to Open Slavery Museum in Doha

As part of Doha’s Msheirib Downtown project, Qatar is inaugurating a museum that explores the topic of slavery. The museum will include a historical focus, examining the evolution of slavery around the Indian Ocean, with exhibits that investigate the pearl trade and the “Underground Railroad” that allowed slaves to escape to Bahrain, as well as an archive of documents that include first-person testimonies of enslaved people.

But also, according to Matthew Hall in the Atlantic Council, the museum will feature a “Modern Slavery” wing with a placard that reads “Many construction workers in rapidly industrializing parts of the world, especially the Gulf region, are considered to be contractually enslaved.”

Hall noted that “94 percent of the workforce is foreign” in Qatar, and the country is among the Gulf nations that have come under scrutiny for workers’ rights abuses. As Al Arabiya reported, the country has faced criticism for its “controversial ‘kafala’ system that binds workers to their employer.”