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Iraq Human Trafficking Archive

Federal Court Orders U.S. Defense Contractor KBR To Stand Trial in Nepali Human Trafficking Case

Published: August 23, 2013

WASHINGTON — After a review of the evidence, a federal court today ordered the Nepali human trafficking case against Houston, Texas-based U.S. defense contractor KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor Daoud & Partners to proceed to trial. A trial date has been set for April 14, 2014. Lead plaintiffs counsel is Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

The case involves 12 Nepali men, ages 18 to 27, who in 2004 were promised safe jobs in Jordan, but were instead involuntarily transported to Iraq. Eleven of the men were captured and killed by insurgents on the way to the U.S. Air Force base where they were to work. The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that KBR knowingly violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Court denied KBR’s motion that argued the plaintiffs did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

In his order, Judge Keith Ellison, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, wrote, “the proffered evidence shows that each man was deceived about his promised job; each man was promised a hotel-related job in Jordan; each man’s family took on significant debt in order to pay recruitment fees; when the men arrived in Jordan, they were subject to threats and harm; their passports were confiscated; and the men were locked into a compound and threatened.” Read the remainder of this entry »

And What Happens To Them After That?

Posted May 31, 2013 By Ms Sparky

Sudhama Ranganathan – (Indy Bay Media) – May 29, 2013 – Rape is the last thing we want to think about when we consider our military service members.  It just seems like the antitheses of everything they are supposed to stand for, we as a nation are supposed to stand for and what we want others to see when they encounter our military.  We want to project strength, but also the best possible representation of the nation that is known for protecting and helping to promote freedoms, liberties and rights worldwide.  We want people to think of us in the best possible light and as a people that respect others, both for what we have in common and our differences.

Unfortunately, over the past twelve or thirteen years our military, plus our intelligence services and associated publicly contracted private security and private intelligence contractors, have built a reputation for all manner of sex related hijinks and troubles.  They have been known to trade in flesh, as well as to be involved in rape, pedophilia and pederasty.

Contractors, trained during their own US military tenure, have had all manner of problems regarding these things.  One company in particular, DynCorp has in fact proven, through a repeated and consistent pattern of such instances, to have a culture within their organization that tolerates such behavior.

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These people thought they had a job that provided a good wage, food and housing. They found out they had none of that.

Portman, Blumenthal Secure Inclusion of Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in Defense Bill

Office of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) – Washington, D.C.- Novemeber 30, 2012 – Yesterday, Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) secured inclusion of the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S.2234) in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (S.3254).  Earlier this month, Portman and Blumenthal launched the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.  The caucus will bring Senators together to combat human trafficking by promoting awareness, removing demand, supporting prosecution efforts, and providing appropriate service systems for survivors.

Despite the U.S. government’s zero tolerance human trafficking policy, investigations have found that human trafficking by government contractors and subcontractors who operate overseas is still an issue. For example, in 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting – an independent, bipartisan legislative commission established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan – concluded that “[e]xisting prohibitions on such trafficking have failed to suppress it.” The commission also concluded that “evidence of the recurrent problem of trafficking in persons by labor brokers or subcontractors of contingency contractors.”

More than 70,000 third-country nationals work for contractors and subcontractors of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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What the U.S. Government Knew About Najlaa

Posted July 11, 2012 By Ms Sparky

David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – July 11, 2012 – A bit over a year ago a report I co-wrote, documenting human trafficking and abuse of workers by Najlaa International Catering Services, a KBR subcontractor, was published by the Project on Government Oversight.

The internal company documents I uncovered revealed, among other things, that U.S. authorities were aware of the deplorable living conditions Najlaa workers endured back in 2008. To their credit both the U.S. government and KBR both worked to pressure Najlaa to fix things once they were alerted to the problem.

But, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union, newly released documents reveal that the U.S. government and KBR were even more aware of the problem than previously known.

In July 2011 the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding that the government release documents relating to the trafficking and the abusive treatment of foreign workers on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case sought documents from the Departments of State and Defense that detail audits and complaints about military contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Joe Davidson – (Washington Post) – June 27, 2012 – A Senate committee wants to make sure Uncle Sam doesn’t act as an inadvertent enabler for international human traffickers and pimps.

With a voice vote Wednesday, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee preliminarily approved legislation designed, as its title says, to “End Trafficking in Government Contracting.”

When contractors submit proposals for government work overseas, they don’t include provisions for trading in humans or indentured servitude. But that apparently has been the case with some private firms operating on U.S. military bases in foreign countries.

“Modern-day slavery by government contractors — unknowingly funded by American taxpayers — is unconscionable and intolerable,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), prime sponsor of the bill. “Current law prohibiting human trafficking is insufficient and ineffective, failing to prevent or punish abuses.”

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