Thursday, August 28, 2008

Defense contractor accused of human trafficking

LOS ANGELES - The families of 12 Nepali men killed by Iraqi insurgents have filed a federal lawsuit accusing defense contractor KBR Inc. and a Jordanian subcontractor of human trafficking, saying the men were sent to work in Iraq against their will after being promised jobs in a posh hotel in Jordan.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court alleges the workers were being taken to work at a U.S. air base in Iraq in 2004 when insurgents intercepted their caravan and killed them days later. A Nepali worker whose car survived the attack is also a plaintiff; Buddi Prasad Gurung, now back in Nepal, claims he was forced to work at Al Asad Air Base as a warehouse loader for 15 months.

The 13 Nepali men were recruited by Daoud & Partners and other subcontractors with promises of work at an Amman hotel before their passports were taken and they were sent to Iraq, according to the lawsuit.

Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for Houston-based KBR, declined to comment, saying the company has not yet seen the lawsuit. A contact number for Daoud & Partners could not immediately be located...........

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