by David Phinney
Sunday June 16th 2024



DOD Failed to Stop Worker Exploitation in Iraq

The Washington Post finds little evidence of human trafficking in the United States despite well-funded programs to combat it. But the lengthy page-one Sonday story above the fold neglects to mention the allegations of trafficking under US-funded contracts in Iraq.
Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence
The unusual effort that unfolds to two full pages follows a brief but pointed story last week in Federal Computer Week relating a Feb. 15 memo from Air Force Maj. Gen. Daryl Scott, who oversees all contracting activities for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The momo claims that problems involving contractors’ treatment of low-paid international workers, which the military found in 2006, were ongoing.
Scott’s Feb. 15 memo, summarized the findings of a December 2006 report by the inspector general of MNF-I:

“Unfortunately, the IG found that many third-country nationals are paying excessive recruitment fees, and almost half of (them) still have not been provided the mandated 50 square feet of living space,” Scott wrote in a memo addressed to senior procurement officials in the services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

In the memo, Scott asked Pentagon officials to help ensure that contract language and clauses of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement prohibiting such practices be applied to all contracts performed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trafficking-in-persons “violations are serious offenses,” Scott wrote. “MNF-I and my command take a zero-tolerance approach to any violation. Thank you for assisting us to ensure (that) all contractors performing in Iraq and Afghanistan comply.”
Despite the issue’s severity, DOD’s senior procurement official was unaware of the memo. In an Aug. 27 FCW interview with DOD procurement chief Shay Assad, one of the intended recipients of Scott’s memo, Assad said he had never seen it. “It’s addressed to me, but I haven’t seen it,” he said after a reporter showed him the document.


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