News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: "Slave Labor" Use by US Contractors in Iraq Investigated

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Slave Labor" Use by US Contractors in Iraq Investigated

The Chicago Tribune has continued its coverage of a story that should be a headliner in the national media: the use of underpaid laborers in Iraq in conditions and under circumstances that sometimes resemble slave labor. ...

I have posted before about this issue. The US Congress is investigating the conditions of foreign workers used by US cintractors in Iraq. Recent revelations reported in the Tribune include the withholding of these workers' passports so they cannot leave the country.

According to the Tribune [you will need to subscribe for free to read the rest of this article]:

Getting contractors on U.S. military bases in Iraq to return the passports they seized from thousands of foreign workers imported to do menial labor in the war zone was "kind of like pulling teeth," even though the seizures violated U.S. laws against human trafficking, a senior contracting officer told Congress Wednesday.

Air Force Col. Robert Boyles, who helped implement military reforms aimed at eliminating trafficking of Asian laborers onto American bases in Iraq, also testified that contractors had seized passports as a standard practice. He suggested they complied with military orders to return travel documents to the workers only because their business was threatened.

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