Monday, November 07, 2011

Human Trafficking

Ms. Sparky (www.mssparky.com) has an interesting post on human trafficking...

by federal overseas contractors is widespread and never punished,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (Va.), the top Democrat on the panel. “Not a single case of human trafficking, sexual assault, wage theft or related crimes has been prosecuted by the Department of Justice, and only a single case has even been referred for prosecution by the Department of Defense. Neither the Army and Air Force Exchange Service nor any other component of DoD or the State Department has suspended or debarred a single federal contractor for human trafficking, even though such abuses are routine.”
~Joe Davidson, Washington Post, November 2, 2011

Read the full story HERE.

I know it is going on.  You (if you do contracting in Kuwait - and elsewhere for that matter) know that it is going on.  It is rampant.  Yet why does the USG still turn a blind eye?

It's real simple, investigators:  Do a spot check (with no notice) of worker's accommodations.  How many people are living in ONE room? Where are their passports being kept?  (Usually NEVER with the worker, but with the employer, which is against the law in moth countries including Kuwait).  How often do they get vacations?  Ask to see records.  .....But alas, that is way down the road because large contractors can bid much cheaper by using what amounts to slaves.

Where are the whistle blower hotline numbers or (anonymous) E-mails posted?  I'm American and would have a hard time blowing the whistle when/if I knew there were corrupt practices going on; what about TCN's?  The ones I've met are scared to death of the reprecussions.  The easiest way to talk to the appropriate people is if you work on a base/camp and can go direct to the source.  What about the people in the offices off-post - who probably know the most about what is going on inside the offices of defense contractors?  Who do they contact?  EIGHT years on in Kuwait, it is still not easy to tell anyone (or know where to begin) if something bad is going on.  Those of us who have known/do know have gotten tired trying to figure it all out.

10 comments:

♥●• İzdiher •●♥ said...

This is sad :(.Thanks for sharing this topic.Love your blog

Follow each other.

Anonymous said...

This is appalling. I remember reading an article about this American contractor who recruited workers from the sub-continent countries and told them that they were going to work in Dubai, but after they were picked up from the airport they put in back of a truck without windows and driven over the border to Iraq. True story. There are Americans working for companies on these camps that work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Is this legal? No. It is slavery. I once asked a women, "How do you even do your laundry". She told me, "I don't know, but I don't know how long I can take this". Most contractors on the base in Qatar work 40 hour workweeks I heard and they follow the law, but what is it about Kuwait that everyone jumps on the bandwagon to suppress human rights and exploit employees. ITT, I understand, has outsourced many jobs to sub-continent workers, many of them unqualified, but that is a ticking timebomb, because it is well known in India there is high suicide rates. So one of them will crack and hang himself, they will march to the Kuwaitis and tell all of how they are being exploited on Arifjan because they want their 30-40 day vacations to India or the worse case scenerio is that one of them will bomb the base because they are so bitter and expected that an American company would treat them better. Is Arifjan on the third-tier of the State Department's Report? Maybe, and that is pathetic like this nation.

Anonymous said...

Yeah dude. Kuwait might as well be a third world country. Kuwaitis have a slaveholder mentality...forget contractors. Every single household in Kuwait has slaves. I'm sorry..."maids". Yes im American. If you read any slave accounts from the 1800's you see the same dynamic going on between master and slaves and "Madams" and maids.

Crazy in Kuwait said...

Yes, ITT gets their FN from KRH and yes they work 12 hours/6days a week, I've seen their payscale and it's horrible. Some of them are washers and they make 80 KD, most make around 120 KD a month. ITT pays KRH a set amount, I think around 500 KD for each one. KRH supplies the workers housing, transportation, 3 meals a day and dry cleaning up to a certain amount. KRH takes advantage of them and the workers are always asking ITT for help but ITT can't do anything.

One of the FN guys who worked for ITT for 7 years was fired because he went to the COR and told him about their wages. KRH has stacks and stacks of resumes from FNs. For every one that leaves there are 10 to replace him. They are just happy to be working with Americans. ITT has no control over how the sponsor treats their people.

THe FNs who work on the military vehicles have no Security clearance even though it's required for Americans doing the same job. If no one cares, no one checks and so it goes on the same way it has been for 10 years.

Desert Girl said...

KRH has made a shitload of money from CSA and ITT. I heard that they had been investigated. ITT was fishing for a new sponsor a few years ago, but I guess they decided to "stay with the devil they knew." Unfortunate.

Desert Girl said...

Um, and AGAIN, I think that the DOD should post posters with ways that slaves (uh, TCNs) can blow the whistle without repercussion (in their native languages).

As it is, they talk and they lose their job. Most of these people are supporting entire families in their home countries. They can't risk it and suffer in silence.

Anonymous 7:51 - Kuwait IS a third world county by definition.

Crazy in Kuwait said...

Yeah my husband says KRH is on a shit list and everyone wants to get them. It's obvious there is a problem now because ITT isn't getting the smooth transitions they used to and all the "wasta" has disappeared along with the owners sons robbing him blind too. KBOSS is supposed to be letting KRH sponosr the new people. I hear L3 let go of KRH and found a new sponsor too.


ITT won't let go of KRH for some reason. When KRH feels them letting go they come up woth some new news and "everything is ok." We can't get any credit at any company once they see the sponsor they just laugh. "KRh is blacklisted" the bank guy told me.

One day they will get what's coming to them.

Desert Girl said...

Crazy in Kuwait -

Perhaps somebody is getting paid to maintain the status quo. I've heard that rumor for years. I was part of a team that went to the States to talk to people at the prime's HQ to discuss switching sponsors. NOTHING HAPPENED.

Hey Colorado Springs, wake the F UP!

Anonymous said...

Shit. American companies screw Americans as well. I spent nearly a year and a half with no visa. I am not the only one in my company to suffer this fate. We get no paid holidays and only 6 paid sick days a year and forget about overtime. 72 hour weeks is the norm. We are told our holidays and overtime are figured into our salaries. We approached the Air Force COR and were told the only care if the contract is fullfilled.Let us not even mention no perdium. We were told by the COR that the company can disperse that as they see fit. Lets see, taking government funds and breaking the law while in commision of fullfilling a government contract. I knew a lady in another department who broke her back and had to have sugery. They fired her a day after her surgery with not taking into account Kuwait labor law or even FMLA or workmans comp. Someone needs to step in on this stuff. No elected official in the States seems to give a shit.

Desert Girl said...

Anonymous May 22: Unfortunately, many contractor jobs outside the US of Hey are like the wild wild West. Unfortunately, if you are an employee in Kuwait, you really need to find a good Kuwaiti labor lawyer and sue your US company for compensation.

I've heard that some employees have tried to do this while still working for the company and they are sent back to the States - where, believe it or not, it is harder to sue than it would be through a Kuwaiti lawyer who knows Kuwait labor law.

If you have a Kuwait residency visa (18) through an employer (any employer), they must abide by the Kuwait labor law. You end up suing the Kuwaiti sponsor company first, then the Kuwaiti sponsor must turn around and sue the company. That's how it works here. Here's a little trick: Go to a Kuwaiti lawyer right before you leave country. Sign a power of attorney. Let THEM fight the case for you. Go home and wait to get the money.

And you are quite correct, most US officials do not give a shit.

You might try lobbying either the Senate Appropriations Committee or your local senator, but it is a long road and again (refer to paragraph right above).

Many people think we're out here livin large making huge amounts of money when in reality - it is just hard to find a job in the States and hard to make a decent living. Many Americans can't afford to live in their own country.