KBR Sued for Human Trafficking in Iraq

August 28, 2008 9:59 a.m.

The Washington Post reports that KBR, one of the largest U.S. contractors in Iraq, is being sued, along with a subcontractor, for engaging in human trafficking in Iraq. According to a lawyer for the Washington firm bringing the suit:

13 Nepali men, between the ages of 18 and 27, were recruited in Nepal to work as kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in Amman, Jordan. But once the men arrived in Jordan, their passports were seized and they were told they were being sent to a military facility in Iraq, Fryszman said.

As the men were driven in cars to Iraq, they were stopped by insurgents. Twelve were kidnapped and later executed, Fryszman said. The thirteenth man survived and worked in a warehouse in Iraq for 15 months before returning to Nepal.

The suit alleges that the scheme was set up by KBR (formerly known as Kellogg Brown and Root) and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud and Partners. This spring, Daoud was ordered by a Department of Labor judge to pay $1 million to the families of 11 of the victims.

KBR said in a statement that it “in no way condones or tolerates unethical or illegal behavior.”

Given KBR’s prominence role in working with the U.S. military in Iraq and elsewhere, this deserves keeping an eye on.

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