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Working on the Chain Gang

Slave labour is alive and well in the Gulf. One of the nastier tricks the less scrupulous employers use is simply to withhold payment for several months, often from an entire immigrant workforce. Westerners often fail to understand this one. Here, the employer is also the sponsor. The affected workers can't go to work for someone else, because the sponsor won't release them. They can't even cut their losses and leave the country, because the sponsor will not issue an exit visa (and you thought you could just get on a plane, huh?) And of course there are no unions, no worker representation. So what are the choices? Withhold your labour and starve, or continue to work for whatever late pittance your sponsor feels like doling out. Probably enough to keep you alive and working, just.

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