LABOR USED TO CONSTRUCT
AMERICAN EMBASSY IN IRAQ
NEW YORK, Tuesday, August 7, 2007---It has become so difficult to
recruits to work in Iraq these days that contractors are kidnapping
laborers to make up for the shortfall.
congressional hearings, a medical technician for contractor First
Kuwaiti, Rory J. Mayberry, testified that Filipino workers who agreed
to work in Dubai were instead placed on a plane which, without
their knowledge, carried them to Iraq. Once in Baghdad, they were
forced to work on the construction of the American Embassy.
no idea they were being sent to do construction work on the
U.S. Embassy," Mayberry was quoted as saying in published reports.
estimated that there were 51 workers on the plane taking them
to Iraq. Philippine officials have only been able to identify 11 of
these as Filipino, and have said that of these, six have already
the Philippines, although the government said it has been unable to
track the six down.
former employee of First Kuwaiti, John Owens, told Congress that
workers had no shoes and were forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days
a week, and that 17 workers actually attempted an escape from the
embassy construction site. The embassy is expected to cost U.S.
taxpayers $600 million.
cases, which have incidentally come to light, could be just the tip of
the ice berg regarding forced labor. Enslavement and mistreatment
likely go hand in hand, and the two practices are undoubtedly prevalent
nationals are banned from working in Iraq. The case of the mistreated
workers has attracted the attention of the Philippine government, which
has assigned a special envoy to investigate the alleged abuses.
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