by David Phinney
Sunday October 25th 2020

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Labor Trafficking in Iraq…..

This is an interesting development according to a KBR worker who complained about working conditions of low-paid Asian laborers working under US contracts.
The development follows my series on the working conditions and trafficking of south Asians Blood, Sweat & Tears along with Cam Simpson’s series that followed in The Chicago Tribune:

I have some good news to report. Things are shakin’, probably as a result of Cam’s article and others like his, and perhaps as a result of the survey of 32 Indian workers and related summary I sent up the KBR chain.
Two days ago an internal investigative team (one HR supervisor and a Hindi interpreter) came to interview the same 32 laborers. It was all very hush hush, but I confirmed afterward with my guys that the questions had been the same ones I had asked them, about the amount of their agency fees, the interest on their loans, time to repay, etc. Incidentally the Indians were terrified at first, certain that they were about to lose their jobs. They were assured by everyone involved that this was not the case.
The investigation, I’m certain, was to verify the validity of my report.
The other event – coincidentally happening within the same week – was a multi-page document entitled KBR Trafficking in Persons Awareness Training. All personnel are required to read it and familiarize themselves with the rules.
The U.S. has issued a new FRAGO (dont’ ask me what that acronym means, but it’s the law) Military MNF-I Frago 06-188 [Trafficking in Persons]
3.C.3.A. Direct contractors and subcontractors at all tiers to return worker passports in compliance with Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 1589 and 1592, and/or other laws as may be appropriate NLT 01 May 2006…..
3.C.3.D. Incorporate contract language that prohibits contractors and subcontractors at all tiers from utilizing unlicensed recruiting firms, or firms that charge illegal recruiting fees, and includes appropriate penalties for non-compliance.
3.C.3.E. Require contracts to have measurable, enforceable standards for living conditions (e.g., sanitation, health, safety, etc.) and establish 50 feet as the minimum acceptable square footage of personal living space per worker. (they have 23 now)
There are many other provisions, enforcement of compliance, assuring that laborers are given a copy of their contract (which non of my guys were given, to prove they were told they would be given a day off a month)
To me, this is encouraging. It means we’ve touched a nerve, or created awareness where there was none.
It has eased the misanthropy I have felt for the company I work for, the U.S. Military, but sorry… I still think Bush and his gang are idiots.

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2 Responses to “Labor Trafficking in Iraq…..”

  1. Patricia says:

    Marafi Kuwait Commercial Company को Operation Manager को पोष्ट मा कार्यरत श्री राजेन्द्र तामाङ् एवं श्रीमती फुलमाया तामाङ् ज्युले आफ्नो स्वर्गिय पिता श्री मान बहादुर बमजन को सम्झना एवं स्‍मृति स्वरुप वर्ष २००० अक्टोबर देखी के. डि. (कुवेती डिनार) २५०.००० = Marafi Kuwait Commercial Company को Operation Manager को पोष्ट मा कार्यरत श्री राजेन्द्र तामाङ् एवं श्रीमती फुलमाया तामाङ् ज्युले आफ्नो स्वर्गिय पिता श्री मान बहादुर बमजन को सम्झना एवं स्‍मृति स्वरुप वर्ष २००० अक्टोबर देखी के. डि. (कुवेती डिनार) २५०.००० = Marafi Kuwait Commercial Company को Operation Manager को पोष्ट मा कार्यरत श्री राजेन्द्र तामाङ् एवं श्रीमती फुलमाया तामाङ् ज्युले आफ्नो स्वर्गिय पिता श्री मान बहादुर बमजन को सम्झना एवं स्‍मृति स्वरुप वर्ष २००० अक्टोबर देखी के. डि. (कुवेती डिनार) २५०.००० = नेपाली ६०,००० (साठी हजार) बराबरको लागतमा स्थापना गर्नु भएको एम. बि. बमजन मेमोरियल गोल्ड KAP khelkud chetrha ma sunaulo karya ho. sakincha bhane एम. बि. बमजन मेमोरियल गोल्ड KAP Tae Kwon -Do national championship nepalma garauda kaso hola?? nepalko khelkhud ko chetrama thulo yogdan hune thiyo.श्री राजेन्द्र तामाङ् एवं श्रीमती फुलमाया तामाङ् ज्यु ani sampurna kubet ma karyarat nepali khelpremi sathiharule hatemalo gare nepal sarkar lai khelchetra ma kam garna badhya hunethiyo.antama श्री राजेन्द्र तामाङ् एवं श्रीमती फुलमाया तामाङ् ज्यु lai HRIDYA dekhi nai DHANYABAD. (dinesh sharma-9845032669)

  2. Stephen says:

    Cam Simpson is giving a lecture today at Eastern Illinois University and I plan on attending.
    Is there an insightful question you think I should ask?
    — Well, Steve, I am flattered you asked. Perhaps you might ask why The Chicago Tribune is taking full credit for efforts by the Pentagon to stop contractors from labor trafficking in Iraq. Note that my story quoted the military as saying in July 2005 that it was investigating allegations of trafficking and worker abuse.
    You might also note the numerous stories published in newspapers around the world and here in the US by The Washington Post and CNN.com in 2004 raising similar complaints.
    Cam did a great job. I imagine the the Tribune’s management is just blowing its horn for return on investment at the expense of other hard-working people in the news media and elsewhere who contributed to shining a light on this horrible practice.

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