Sri Lankan Migrants Used as Forced Laborers

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – In Sri Lanka’s war-torn north and east, where killings happen every day and work is nearly nonexistent, it doesn’t take much to entice a man to leave. So when an employment agency offered a steady paycheck for laboring amid Dubai’s soaring glass and steel towers, 17 young Sri Lankan men paid their fee to the job brokers – $2,000, a small fortune on this tropical island – and signed up. But instead of going to work, they were locked in a room guarded by a man with a pistol. They had been sold to another agency, they were told, for $1,200 apiece. It took them two weeks to realize where they were: Iraq.

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