Foreign Workers Held in Iraq

Contractor kept 1,000 Asian laborers 3 months in warehouses
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2008 7:34 PM CST
Living conditions at a construction site.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – About 1,000 foreign workers brought to Iraq with the promise of lucrative jobs have been living for 3 months in Baghdad warehouses under poor sanitary conditions and in possible violation of US military rules, McClatchy reports. A Kuwaiti company that subcontracts with KBR, formerly Haliburton, brought the men from Central Asia and elsewhere after charging them $2,000.

“For all of us, there are about 12 toilets and about 10 bathrooms,” one Sri Lankan worker said. The Kuwaiti company, Najlaa, said that employment opportunities with the US military dried up after workers arrived, and that they were kept near the Baghdad airport out of concern for their security. The US military, which has guidelines in place to discourage human labor trafficking, said it was unaware of the situation.