Investigation of slave labour at new US embassy in Iraq

Iraq war, cartoon

IPS reports:

IRAQ: Blood, Sweat and Tears at New U.S. Embassy

By David Phinney

WASHINGTON, Jun 8 – The U.S. Justice Department is actively investigating allegations of forced labour and other abuses by the Kuwaiti contractor now rushing to complete the sprawling 592-million-dollar U.S. embassy project in Baghdad, numerous sources have revealed.

Justice Department trial attorneys Andrew Kline and Michael J. Frank with the civil rights division have been contacting former employees of First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting and other witnesses for interviews and documents, but declined to comment on the investigation other than to say they are looking into allegations of labour trafficking.

The two investigators are said to be looking for actual workers around the world who claim they were misled or pressured to work in Iraq against their will by the company.

Rumors of forced labour in Iraq have plagued First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting for several years, but U.S. government officials have discounted such allegations by workers from Nepal and the Philippines in the past, even as the company continued to rack up contracts now totaling several billion dollars from the Pentagon and U.S. State Department.

Late last year, several U.S. citizens also said they boarded separate chartered jets in Kuwait loaded with work crews from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Africa holding boarding passes to Dubai, but the planes then flew directly to Baghdad.

More recently, another U.S. citizen told IPS that he was told by workers from Ghana on the embassy site that they thought they would have jobs in Dubai but were then taken to work in Iraq.

See also here.

Child labour in Iraq: here; in Afghanistan: here.

11 thoughts on “Investigation of slave labour at new US embassy in Iraq

  1. From: “Chuck Hamilton”
    Date: Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:44 pm
    Subject: U.S. raps several Arab allies for human trafficking

    And yet the United Arab Emirates, the worst offender of all by far except for
    Burma, go unmentioned, perhaps because the leaders of that country are such
    close friends and associates of the Bush family and of the Haliburton empire, as
    well as the bin Laden family, including Osama, aka Osama bin Forgotten.


    U.S. raps several Arab allies for human trafficking

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007; 10:30 AM

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States accused its Arab allies Bahrain,
    Kuwait, Oman and Qatar on Tuesday of being among the world’s worst offenders in
    permitting the sale of people into the sex trade and indentured servitude.

    In an annual report on human trafficking, the United States included the four in
    a list of 16 countries subject to possible U.S. sanctions, including the loss of
    U.S. aid and U.S. support for loans from the World Bank and International
    Monetary Fund.

    The others in this category were Algeria, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran,
    Malaysia, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan and

    Under U.S. law, these countries have three months to improve their record before
    being slapped with sanctions. The Bush administration can also choose not to
    impose sanctions if it deems this appropriate.

    “Trafficking in persons is a modern-day form of slavery,” U.S. Secretary of
    State Condoleezza Rice said in an introduction to the report. “Perpetrators prey
    on the most weak among us, primarily women and children, for profit and gain.”


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