Halliburton Exploits Poor From Third World Countries
Contractors working for the United States, including KBR, a Houston-based subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., have brought tens of thousands of workers into Iraq from impoverished countries including Nepal, the Philippines and Bangladesh to do menial jobs, from cooking and serving food to cleaning toilets. In relying on third-country nationals, however, the United States has embraced a system of labor migration rife with abuse, corruption and exploitation, according to dozens of contractors, migrant workers, labor officials and advocates interviewed in four countries.
Violence is the greatest risk. At least one-third of the 255 contractors reported killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 came from Second or Third World countries, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data maintained by a Web site that tracks the deaths.
After questions from the Los Angeles Times, KBR said it would investigate whether benefits were owed. KBR is the largest employer of third-country nationals, with about 25,000 workers in Iraq, typically through Middle Eastern subcontractors. Because of the danger of exploitation, the Philippines and Nepal have forbidden their nationals to work in Iraq. But labor brokers bring in such workers using loopholes. An estimated 5,000 Nepalese work in Iraq.