India must better protect its foreign workers
Jeanne holds a mirror to American attitudes to the foreign workers it employs in Iraq.
To me, the biggest shock in this story is that the Washington Post can lay out the details of lies and mistreatment, and then casually note that non-American foreign workers in Iraq accept wages one-tenth of what Americans would get, “saving millions of taxpayer dollars.” Have we all gotten the “we want our cheap stuff” mantra so deeply embedded that when we read about slave labor, the first thing that comes to mind is that it will keep our taxes down? [Body and Soul via Hobson’s Choice]
For India, the export of labour to the Persian Gulf region is important as a ready source of hard currency, thanks to workers’ remittances. While successive Indian governments in recent years have tried to endear themselves to the diaspora, they have done precious little to protect the rights of citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid. India must not fight shy of demanding decent treatment of its citizens anywhere. It can be done subtly, but it must be done more forcefully.