Tiger Woods has had an awful lot of strange bedfellows discovered over the past several months, so should it really come as a shock that he's in bed with human trafficking and worker exploitation too? Thankfully, the mainstream media coverage of his dalliances ad nauseum has finally died down, but there is one glaring ommission. No one seems to be talking about the largest group of people who are being screwed by Tiger Woods. No, it's not the Norwegian women's downhill ski team or the cast of Jersey Shore. It's the thousands of migrant workers who are being exploited and enslaved in areas where Tiger is pumping cash into his projects, with little or no oversight.
Tiger Woods Dubai is a golf corse designed to make all other golf courses look like chunks of sod that fell off a truck and landed in the middle of the highway. And once completed, it will probably do its job. The course is in Dubailand, an adult Disneyland in the middle of the desert. Of course, there is only one small problem with the construction of Woods' pleasure dome and the magical land where it will live: slavery.
Dubai, and more specifically the construction industry which builds huge projects like Woods' golf course and the recently unveiled tallest skyscraper in the world, has struggled with rampant human trafficking of migrants workers. Dubai's "regulations" to prevent exploitation of construction workers are laughable, with the result that Dubai's major building projects have been tainted by human human trafficking for years. And what does Tiger Woods have to say about the possibility of slaves being used to build his golf course? Nothing. I wonder if that means human rights are as important to him as marriage vows.
There has also been controversy around Woods' financial relationship with Chevron. Some critics claim that the deal Woods signed with Chevron links him directly to some of their more controversial projects, specifically their pipeline project in Burma. The Burmese government has long engaged in forced labor, human trafficking, and the recruiting of child soldiers, and the Chevron pipeline funds these human rights abuses by giving millions of dollars to the Burmese government. If Woods is supporting all of Chevron's projects via his deal with them, then he's supporting these abuses of Burmese and migrant workers in Burma. Ouch.
To be fair, I'd bet my best golf clubs that Tiger Woods isn't sitting behind a desk somewhere, stroking a cat, and plotting how to exploit and enslave more people to make him richer. He has, however, been negligent in researching his projects and working with companies and organizations to ensure they are built with human rights in mind. The mainstream media and just about every woman in America was quick to condemn him for his marital infidelity, but what about his infidelity to the basic human rights of people? Tiger Woods has tremendous power, with his name, money, and talent. But with that power comes responsibility -- to your family, your community, the people whose lives you affect. And no matter how you slice it, Woods has been irresponsible.