Over two years ago, Jamie Leigh Jones was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad’s Green Zone when she was drugged and gang-raped, allegedly by several co-workers. According to Jones, instead of attending to her injuries and bringing her assailants to justice, she was held by KBR for 24 hours in a shipping container without food or water and then told she would lose her job if she left Iraq. Now, it’s unclear whether the case will go to trial, and her attackers may escape punishment due to a legal loophole regarding U.S. contractors working abroad.
“It felt like prison,” says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming “20/20” investigation. “I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened.”
Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.
“I said, ‘Dad, I’ve been raped. I don’t know what to do. I’m in this container, and I’m not able to leave,’” she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
“We contacted the State Department first,” Poe told ABCNews.com, “and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen”—from her American employer.
Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones’ camp, where they rescued her from the container.
Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, has started her own nonprofit foundation to help other women who have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted while working abroad.