Home > Economics, Middle East > Iraq Contractors on Notice About Labor Abuse

Iraq Contractors on Notice About Labor Abuse

David Phinney writes in IraqSlogger:

Sam McCahon proposed a simple solution to convince US-funded contractors working in Iraq to return passports to their migrant workers. Reaching in his pocket, the candid government contract lawyer pulled out a clip of folded US dollars and held it up.

“This works,” he said, speaking at a conference on labor trafficking in Washington, DC, sponsored last week by the International Peace Operations Association, a trade group of private contractors specializing in military support services.

McCahon pointed out that when businesses in the Middle East realize that they will lose out on lucrative US contracts, they get the message–employees have rights when working for American taxpayers, no matter what their nationality or salaries are.

“There are so many companies out there and this is a competitive world,” McCahon explained to the audience of three dozen contractors, Pentagon officials and human rights experts. “If the companies don’t want to comply, they can go somewhere else.”

Returning passports to workers became a big issue for Iraq contractors last spring after a Defense Department order demanded that employers stop the widespread and “illegal” practice of holding travel and identity documents to prevent low-wage employees from leaving jobs.

Read the complete text >>

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Categories: Economics, Middle East

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