KBR Subcontractor Accused of Human Trafficking Continues to Win U.S. Contracts
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has just released an informative in depth report into the human trafficking offenses of a significant KBR Dining Facility (DFAC) subcontractor Najlaa International Catering Services. It was researched and written by David Isenberg and Nick Schwellenbach. David Isenberg has been an observer and commentator on private military and security contracting since its modern birth in the 1980s. He is the author of the book, Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq (Praeger Security International). His blog The PMSC Observer is the leading online resource for news and current events pertaining to the subject of private military and security. David also writes at the Huffington Post. Nick Schwellenbach is Director of Investigations for The Project On Government Oversight (POGO).
This report is peppered with revealing internal KBR and Najlaa correspondence, expert analysis, reports and POGO’s own conclusions. Hmmm, I wonder what the DoD has to say about all this?
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Despite a “zero tolerance” policy on human trafficking, the U.S. continues to award contracts to a Kuwaiti company that has been implicated in abusing and confining its foreign workers, according to government and internal corporate documents released today by the Project On Government Oversight.
The company, Najlaa International Catering Services, a subcontractor of Houston-based KBR, appears to have suffered no repercussions for its role in luring hundreds of South Asian workers to Iraq in 2008 with promises of lucrative jobs only to turn around and warehouse at least 1,000 of them in dismal living conditions without work—or pay—for several months.
The documents show that despite on-the-ground KBR employees’ frustration and strongly worded communications to Najlaa about its conduct, KBR continued to award subcontracts to the company. The documents also suggest that Najlaa rehired former KBR employees who were terminated for what appear to be trafficking-in-persons violations.
“It is unconscionable that the U.S. government and KBR continue to reward a company that abuses, degrades and dehumanizes its workers,” POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said. “Continuing to look the other way at Najlaa’s actions makes a joke of the U.S. policy on human trafficking.”
For more information and links to the documents, read “Documents Reveal Details of Alleged Labor Trafficking by KBR Subcontractor” on POGO’s blog.
Well done David Isenberg and Nich Schwellenbach. I look forward to hearing more from the “cache” of internal emails you have obtained!