Indians Protest 'Slave' Working Conditions in US

Guest workers march to Washington, say they were duped
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2008 7:43 AM CDT
India's Ambassador to the U.S. Ronen Sen greets a group of workers from India, who provided labor in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Thursday, March 27, 2008, at the Indian Embassy in Washington.    (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Some 100 Indian immigrants have marched hundreds of miles from New Orleans to Washington to protest what they call "slave" working conditions at a marine construction company. The Indian laborers say they work long hours with 24 men sharing a dormitory for which they each had to pay more than $1,000 a month. The workers launched the demonstration to highlight the exploitation that can occur within the US guest worker program, reports the BBC.

Close to 500 men in India paid up to $20,000 to recruiters to obtain work in the US. They toiled for little money and food at the Mississippi company, but under the provisions of their visas they were unable to seek work elsewhere. Their employer denies the mistreatment and says the workers' recruiter, now fired, is to blame for any disagreements on pay.