Migrant workers abandoned without food or pay in Iraq

migrant construction workers in Iraq

migrant construction workers in Iraq

Humanitarian agencies in Iraq say they are alarmed by the growing number of foreign migrant workers seeking humanitarian aid and protection after being abandoned by private companies in Baghdad.

The International Organization for Migration IOM says the workers are being forced to live in unsanitary conditions, have no food, lack funds to enable them return to their countries of origin and are vulnerable to exploitation.

IOM is currently providing humanitarian assistance to a group of 35 Ukrainian and Bulgarian workers abandoned by their employer in Baghdad. 

The organization is appealing to the government of Iraq to pressure private companies to take care of their foreign labourers. Jemini Pandya is from IOM in Geneva.

"We have helped many migrants who have been trafficked to Iraq for labour exploitation to work in the construction, domestic and service industries. They have come from all over the world and their stories are usually horrific. This exploitation of migrants is probably, as far as we’re concerned, the biggest unseen problem in Iraq. Many if not most of the estimated tens of thousands of migrants are undocumented through no fault of their own. What IOM is urgently calling for,  in addition to the private companies honouring their legal obligations to take care of their workers, is for a comprehensive labour migration policy in the country,  for a new counter-trafficking legislation that IOM has helped the government to draft to be passed by parliament as soon as possible, and for a system to be put in place that protects trafficked or stranded migrants.”

Duration 47″

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