Rights Abuses to Be Investigated in Iraq Warehouse Scandal

Most Workers Already Sent Home, 400 Remain

Updating a story earlier this month about a subcontractor to major US military contract KBR, both the US military and KBR are now investigating possible human-rights abuses against the 1,000 or so foreign workers being stored in a warehouse near the Baghdad airport.

The workers paid in excess of $2,000 each to get to Iraq with the promise of a high-paying job with the Kuwaiti subcontractor. When the contract fell through the company kept the workers in a heavily guarded warehouse near the airport, refusing to let them leave and providing only three meager meals a day.

The International Organization for Migration says some of the men had their passports taken from them by recruiters. The Kuwaiti company, Najlaa, defended its treatment of the workers, and began sending them home after the story was initially broken in the international press. About 400 of the men continue to wait for flights back to their countries of origin, thousands of dollars poorer, several months older, and still unemployed.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.