End Abuse of Migrant Workers in Russia Ahead of Winter Olympics

Target: International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge.

Goal: To end the human rights abuses being committed against migrant workers working on Olympic sites for the 2014 Winter Games.

Migrant workers operating on key Olympic sites ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi have been subject to abusive and exploitative conditions on job sites. Human rights organizations have reported that employers and contractors have cheated workers out of wages, required 12-hour workdays and in some cases confiscated passports and work permits in order to force workers to remain in exploitative jobs. There is no doubt that the Russian government wishes to put on a great performance as host, but exploiting the workers that make the Olympics possible is no way to achieve their goals. The International Olympic Committee must intervene to halt further abuses.

Over 16,000 migrant workers have travelled from nearby countries in order to work in the resort-city of Sochi ahead of the 2014 games. Workers travelled from countries such as Serbia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine in order to work low-wage, low-skill jobs such as carpentry, welding and other odd jobs. These workers typically garnered between US$1.80 to $2.60 an hour, far below the minimum wage. Many were promised free accommodation and food before they migrated to Russia, and were disappointed when they arrived to find they would be charged for both out of their paychecks. One of the problems is that many workers were not allowed or never presented with an employment contract. If workers did sign these documents, the contractors often never followed the terms of the contract.

The International Olympic Committee must intervene in order to prevent future abuses. A committee must be organized within the IOC in order to document human rights offenses and punish those responsible. The Olympic Games are a symbol of excellence and an inspiration for the world; they should not be marred by such human rights abuses. Sign this petition and demand that the IOC take action on human rights abuses in Russia.


Dear Jacques Rogge,

Human rights abuses being committed against migrant workers in Russia must come to an end. The denial of human rights on projects associated with the Olympic Games goes against the Games’ commitment to excellence. It also shows the world that the Games should not be an inspiration for us all.

The International Olympic Committee must do all that it can to halt such abuses in the future. By establishing a committee dedicated to the preservation of human rights, we may ensure that such transgressions will never occur again.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Paul Gaborit via Texample

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