Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preying on the vulnerable

This morning's news includes a trio of depressing stories about lowlifes who prey on vulnerable populations and on those who assist the poor.

Let's start with Somalia, where the New York Times reports
As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff members, according to a new Security Council report.
Meanwhile in Pakistan,
Suspected militants armed with grenades attacked the offices of an international aid group helping earthquake survivors in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing six employees and wounding several others, police and the organization said.

All the victims of the assault on World Vision, a large Christian humanitarian group, were Pakistanis.

Extremists have killed other people working for foreign aid groups in Pakistan and issued statements saying such organizations were working against Islam, greatly hampering efforts to raise living standards in the desperately poor region. Many groups have scaled down operations in the northwest or pulled out altogether.
And locally,
A reported Greensboro cleaning company has closed and its owners are believed to have left town after accusations they defrauded job applicants out of hundreds of dollars by promising jobs that never existed, police said.

...The company posted fliers at the Greensboro Urban Ministry and winter emergency shelters in the area over the past two months looking to hire about 150 workers and advertising jobs at $9 an hour.

Police believe hundreds of applicants came, filled out paperwork, gave their personal information for a background check and took a 300-question test about janitorial work.

Once hired, they were required to pay $55 — cash only — for two to four uniforms and a pair of boots.

The uniforms never came; the workers never received starting dates.