This week’s New Yorker features a piece on “third country nationals” (T.C.N.s) in Iraq and Afghanistan who were deceived and trafficked from their home countries by private contractors to work on American military bases. Many T.C.N.s are not only in constant danger of insurgent attacks but suffer extremely low wages, poor living conditions and sexual assaults. However, the article finds that many T.C.N.s are grateful to even have a job and are unaware of their workers’ rights.
The U.S. military condemns these illicit practices by private subcontractors, and yet they continue. When Defense Department officials were contacted about possible trafficking and mistreatment of T.C.N.s, they concluded that the allegations were “not substantiated.” New Yorker reporter Sarah Stillman found otherwise.