A year and a half after President Barack Obama issued an executive order outlawing human trafficking and forced labor on U.S. military bases, a five-month investigation by “Fault Lines” has found compelling evidence that these abuses remain pervasive at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan.
“Fault Lines” traveled to India, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan to trace the journey of a typical migrant worker seeking a job at a U.S. military base. We found Department of Defense subcontractors and their recruiters colluding to profit directly from exorbitant fees charged to job candidates, who are sometimes left with no choice but to work for six to 12 months to recoup those costs.
Over the past decade, the U.S. military has outsourced its overseas base-support responsibilities to private contractors, which have filled the lowest-paying jobs on military bases with third-country nationals, migrant workers who are neither U.S. citizens nor locals. As of January 2014, there were 37,182 third-country nationals working on bases in the U.S. Central Command region, which includes Afghanistan and Iraq — outnumbering both American and local contract workers.
As Afghanistan Drawdown Looms, Inspector General Warns Of Graft | Matt Sledge
America’s watchdog for Afghanistan is watching the country slip away.
"Every time I visit, I am told by people that we are succeeding," says John Sopko. "I’m not an expert on war-fighting, but I know I can see less of the country every time I go because of security problems."
Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, is looking ahead to a future where his investigators cannot travel to distant provinces to document waste and corruption. That’s a problem that could have big implications as billions of dollars in aid continue to flow to rebuild the country rated the third-most corrupt in the world by Transparency International, 12 years after the American invasion.
As worrying stories trickle out about the state of the Afghan government and military, U.S. government agencies sending billions to Afghanistan — the State and Defense Departments, and the U.S. Agency for International Development — are eager to show that the money is nevertheless being well-spent.
FULL ARTICLE (Huffington Post)
Photo: Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction/flickr
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