updated 8/28/2008 6:34:26 PM ET 2008-08-28T22:34:26

The families of 12 Nepali men killed by Iraqi insurgents have filed a federal lawsuit accusing defense contractor KBR Inc. and a Jordanian subcontractor of human trafficking, saying the men were sent to work in Iraq against their will after being promised jobs in a posh hotel in Jordan.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court alleges the workers were being taken to work at a U.S. air base in Iraq in 2004 when insurgents intercepted their caravan and killed them days later. A Nepali worker whose car survived the attack is also a plaintiff; Buddi Prasad Gurung, now back in Nepal, claims he was forced to work at Al Asad Air Base as a warehouse loader for 15 months.

The 13 Nepali men were recruited by Daoud & Partners and other subcontractors with promises of work at an Amman hotel before their passports were taken and they were sent to Iraq, according to the lawsuit.

Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for Houston-based KBR, declined to comment, saying the company has not yet seen the lawsuit. A contact number for Daoud & Partners could not immediately be located.

Agnieszka Fryszman, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the men came from poor families that went into debt to send them abroad to work and were pushed deeper into poverty when they were killed.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensation for their losses.

"It seemed there were a number of different recruiters and different contractors but they all seem to end at KBR's doorstep," Fryszman said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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