House Panel Hearing Explores U.S. Government contractors’ Exploitation of Workers Overseas

November 2, 2011

If Americans ever think about the employees of government subcontractors, it's doubtful that sex traders, indentured servants and exploited workers living in barbed-wire compounds come to mind.

They should now. 

That's the image left by a congressional hearing Wednesday that asked: "Are government contractors exploiting workers overseas?"

The answer apparently is yes. What's also disturbing about this story is Uncle Sam's ineptness in stopping the exploitation.

Although sad, this story isn't new. In fact, much of the discussion at the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing was based on journalistic accounts. The headlines of two articles sum up the situation: "U.S. policy a paper tiger against sex trade in war zones" was the title of a June 2010 Washington Post article by Nick Schwellenbach and Carol Leonnig. "For foreign workers on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, war can be hell," a New Yorker piece by Sarah Stillman said a year later. 

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