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The Institute Policy Studies started Break the Chain Campaign (BTCC) in 1997 after an expose in the Washington City Paper by IPS Fellow Martha Honey (entitled "Capital Slaves"), which chronicled the lives of women living in virtual slavery while working as domestic servants for officials of the World Bank and other international agencies.
Upon discovering the extent of exploitation of migrant women workers in the D.C. metropolitan area, the BTCC project expanded beyond reporting to better serve and empower these women. The project has provided legal, moral, economic and other support for hundreds of these migrant domestic workers, from dozens of countries, for over a decade. The project also helped raise awareness of the problem of exploitation of domestic workers in the World Bank and other agencies, and was a key advocate for new policies in these agencies.
Today, the project is a leader in the Freedom Network – a national network of anti-trafficking organizations, which greatly contributed to the creation of current legislation protecting the rights of victims of human trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and its reauthorization in 2008. We are also a key partner with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, bringing the domestic worker rights lens to trafficking work, and vice versa.
Currently, we focus on research, writing, policy advocacy, and training, all based on our 14 years of direct service experience and our commitment to a rights-based approach.
News on Mistreatment of Indian Diplomat Ignores Story of Domestic Worker Abuse, says expert at Institute for Policy Studies
December 18, 2013 - "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," said Tiffany Williams, Institute for Policy Studies. By Tiffany Williams
Domestic Workers Deserve Protection: Hold Diplomats Like Khobragade to Account
December 18, 2013 - Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was clearly mistreated by U.S. officers, but what about the abuse that migrant domestic workers live through every day? By Tiffany Williams
Human Trafficking and Immigration: The Ties That Bind
January 10, 2013 - President Obama has declared January as "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month," and immigration will be near the top of President Obama's political agenda in his second term. By Tiffany Williams
Key Facts from "The Dual Mandate: Immigration Enforcement and Human Trafficking"
January 10, 2013 - Between 14,500 and 17,500 persons are trafficked into the country each year and that approximately 50,000 trafficked individuals may be present at any given time. By Tiffany Williams
What Will Excluded Workers Celebrate Next Labor Day?
September 5, 2012 - After this year's celebrations of workers' history, it's time to focus on the ongoing fights for the rights of domestic workers, direct care workers, and guest workers. By Tiffany Williams