13 Nepalis were recruited by a company Moonlight and charged substantial amounts for them to work abroad. Most were told they would be working at a luxury hotel in Jordan or at an American camp which they took to be in the US. They were told they would be paid $500/month. In Jordan, they were turned over to Daoud and Partners which contracted with KBR to provide workers in Iraq. Daoud took their passports, charged them extra fees, and told them that they would be working in Iraq for 3/4 the promised wages. On August 19, 2004, they were forced to travel into Iraq in an unprotected convoy along a dangerous highway. Twelve of the 13 were kidnapped en route by Iraqi insurgents and subsequently executed. Of the 13, Buddi Prasad Gurung alone made it to the Al Asad base where he was turned over to KBR. He told his KBR managers that he “was very scared for his safety and wanted to leave to return to Nepal” but was told he could not leave until his contract was completed. During his stay he was repeatedly exposed to mortar fire but never afforded a protective vest such as his KBR managers wore. After 15 months and the completion of his contract, he was allowed to return to Nepal. KBR supervisors were told by Gurung and other employees that they had been trafficked to Iraq but KBR took no action.
In spring 2008, an administrative law judge in the Labor Department ordered Daoud to pay $1 million to the families of 11 of the 12 slain Nepalis.
On August 27, 2008, a civil suit on behalf of Gurung and the families of the deceased workers was filed in the federal district court for Central California against Daoud and KBR alleging trafficking, racketeering, extortion, peonage, involuntary servitude, forced labor, vicarious violation of RICO, and negligence. The suit claimed US jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Claims Act and contended:
Defendants’ actions as set forth above constitute the torts of trafficking in persons, involuntary servitude, forced labor, and slavery.
161. Trafficking in persons in [sic] a modern day form of slavery, and along with involuntary servitude and forced labor constitutes a tort in violation of the law of nations and/or in violation of treaties of the United States.
162. Defendants’ actions as set forth above constitute the torts of prolonged detention, and/or false imprisonment, which also constitute torts in violation of the law of nation and/or in violation of the treaties of the United States.
KBR was spun off from Halliburton, the company that Dick Cheney used to run. Its government services contracts have exploded under the Bush Administration, despite providing expensive, shoddy services for our troops. Its two main goals are to make as much money as possible anyway possible and in furtherance of this to avoid taking responsibility for any of its truly reprehensible actions.