Indian Migrants Stranded In Afghanistan

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Jan 14 2010

Dozens of stranded Indian migrant workers have been forced to shelter in a Sikh temple in Kabul after being duped by recruitment brokers according to this story from Reuters. The Indian nationals have been left without money or passports after they were falsely promised jobs in Afghanistan by the brokers. Around 30 men remain in stuck in Afghanistan; the rest were able to return home after their families scraped together enough money to pay for their flights home.

Contractors catering to foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan often employ migrant workers from the developing world.
Among those stranded was Subhedar Khandu, who paid US$ 3300 to an agent in return for the promise of a an $800-per-month job in the construction sector in Afghanistan:

"I took out a loan to pay the agent, who I met in Bombay. I thought I would get a one-year contact," Khandu said.

Instead, when he arrived in November, he was locked up in a house with other labourers, given only one meal per day and no work or salary. When his visa expired a month later, the agent vanished and the men turned to their embassy in desperation.

"We were locked in a kind of camp for one month. This is much better but we have nothing to do still, we just sleep a lot."

Many of those stranded were former construction labourers working in the Gulf states, who had lost their jobs as a result of the economic slowdown. These men would, in all probability, have had large loans to pay off in order to gain jobs in the Gulf in the first place, and taking a chance on the promise of a job in Afghanistan, whatever the dangers, may have been their only chance of repaying their debts and supporting their families back home.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East