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The rapid transformation of Sochi from a small resort town to international Olympic host has been made possible by an accelerated construction schedule and the efforts of at least 70,000 workers, including tens of thousands of migrant workers from outside of Russia. Some migrant workers employed on major Olympic venues—including the Central Olympic Stadium, the Main Olympic Village, and the Main Media Center—have faced exploitation and abuse. Some migrant workers building Sochi's Olympic venues and infrastructure were cheated of wages, and in isolated cases were denied wages for weeks or months. Some migrant workers worked 12-hour shifts with one day off per month, had their passports confiscated, were denied employment contracts, and faced unsanitary and overcrowded employer-provided accommodations, with up to 200 migrant workers living in a one single-family home. In some cases, employers retaliated against migrant workers who protested abuses by denouncing them to the authorities, resulting in the workers' expulsion from Russia. Although any worker could risk abuse, cases like this highlight the vulnerable situation for migrant workers in Russia, as they are less able or willing to seek redress.

Read the Human Rights Watch report Race to the Bottom: Exploitation of Migrant Workers Ahead of Russia's 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi »
“I worked for 70 full days without pay. We worked from 8am to 8pm with no days off.”
— “Yunus,” a construction worker from Uzbekistan employed on the Main Media Center in 2011