Topic: The People
Companies working in Iraq rely heavily on employees from third world countries. In a typical dining hall or janitorial staff, there are Nepalese, Pakistani, India, Filipinos, and the occasional Fijian. Similarly, security companies also rely heavily on Nepalese, Fijians, Zimbabweans and Hondurans to perform dull static security jobs inside the Green Zone.
While many of these employees receive large paychecks based on the standards of their home countries, they do not make very much by Western standards. For example, according to a recently investigative report conducted by the Chicago Tribute, "pay for such workers [at KBR] can range from about $65 to $112" per week, though some companies do pay more than others.
The whole situation even becomes slightly scandalous considering that many of these workers come from countries that specifically prohibit their employees from working in Iraq. To get around these restrictions, workers take indirect routes or purchase multiple sets of airline tickets for each leg of their journey. For example, I knew a Filipino who flew from the Philippines to Laos to Dubai to Jordan to get to Iraq.
Even though they do not make very much money, these people are still risking their lives. According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, third-country nationals (TCNs), people who are neither Iraqis nor citizens from U.S. coalition members, account for more than 100 of the roughly 270 contractor fatalities in the country since the start of the war. However, it is widely believed that many companies do not publicly report the deaths of every TCNs; I rarely hear about the death of anyone who isn't from a Western nation. TCNs are largely regulated a second class status in Iraq.