Washington DC – Allegations of domestic worker abuse are being ignored as international news and officials focus on the treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade by New York authorities, says Tiffany Williams, domestic worker and human trafficking expert at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Williams offered the following comments:

“Much of the media surrounding this case has focused on the unfair treatment of Khobragade and the Indian government’s outrage. But what’s missing from the conversation is the context – exploitation of migrant domestic workers is not unusual. Khobragade was clearly mistreated by U.S. officers, but what about the abuse that migrant domestic workers live through every day?

Khobragade, like hundreds of other consular officers, Diplomats, and international officials, was granted the privilege of bringing over a domestic worker to care for her home and family under the U.S. A-3/G-5 visa program. The Department of State, which oversees and monitors this visa program, requires employers and workers to have written contracts that detail wages, hours, working conditions, in addition to in-person interviews and education about human trafficking and worker rights in the United States. Yet as this case shows, dishonest employers can find ways to undermine these protections…

The treatment of Khobragade during her arrest raises serious concerns for us and for our international allies, but it is our belief this cannot be used as an excuse to ignore the deeper questions raised by the case. We are grateful that this investigation was initiated and followed through – too often, it is the international norm to ignore domestic worker abuse.”

Tiffany Williams is the Advocacy Director for the Break the Chain Campaign at the Institute for Policy Studies. She has focused on research and writing that highlights the connection between worker rights and human trafficking. She is currently providing strategic campaign assistance to membership organizations like the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Freedom Network.

** For interviews, questions, or comments, please contact:
Lacy MacAuley, Institute for Policy Studies, (202) 445-4692,
lacy@ips-dc.org **

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The Institute for Policy Studies is celebrating its 50th year of turning ideas into action. IPS is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.

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