I really wanted to write another light hearted post today about our adventures in Gatlinburg, but, after reading this, I don’t have it in me.
In a nearly perfect illustration of the flaws in a totally “free hand of the market” mindset, approximately 500 shipyard workers from India were lured here to work with promises of permanent jobs, and citizenship. Once here, their passports were confiscated, and the men were forced to live in guarded, overcrowded and isolated labor camps. There are accusations of threats of deportation and physical harm endured by these workers.
To me, this seems no different than the exploitation and suffering heaped upon trafficked sex-workers. How many stories have we heard about women from poor countries making a desperate decision to leave their homes and families to seek a better life somewhere else? What happens to those women is wrong, and what happened to those men is just as wrong.
The story quotes some of the workers as saying the conditions were slave-like. Since the men ponied up as much as 20,000 bucks a piece for this “opportunity”, perhaps indentured servitude is more accurate. Whatever its called, its morally bankrupt to allow this to continue. These 500 men will likely return to India, poorer for the experience, and rightfully angry at an American Govt that ignored their situation. They will talk to their friends and family, and those people will talk to their friends and family, and, before long, thousands upon thousands of Indians will be rightfully angry at the United States.
This is the type of mala en se act that a morally centered Govt can prevent, if it has, as it’s core philosophy, the duty to protect those without power.
I think the thing that chaps me the most is that when this is all over, Signal Corp will likely pay a fine and go on about it’s business. If you total the fine and the money spent on attorneys, the amount may have been less than if they had paid these workers a fair wage in the first place. Or, better yet, if they had hired some unemployed Americans to do those jobs in the first place.
H/T to Bizgrrl