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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.
A Wish for the Holidays: Children's Voices Ringing through the Halls of Congress
December 13, 2011 - 5,000 letters from children across the country symbolize the need to address the flaws of the immigration and deportation systems. By Celia Garcia Perez
Health Care Workers Demand That Congress Generate Jobs, Not Health Care Cuts, in 'Take Back the Capitol' Week
December 7, 2011 - Underemployed workers, jobless people, health care workers, and protesters marched to K Street, where they confronted corporate CEOs and lobbyists for some of the country’s largest companies, which have avoided paying their fair share of taxes for years.
The Power of Poetry
November 4, 2011 - Poets resist anti-immigration laws with defiance, beauty, and social media. By Sarah Browning
Obama: Selectively Honoring MLK
October 21, 2011 - While the President honored MLK's work for civil rights and economic justice, he did not mention King's equally important work against the Vietnam War and U.S. militarism. By Joy Zarembka
Why Women? Why Now? Looking at Gender and Immigration
October 17, 2011 - A local woman's struggle with immigration enforcement highlights the need for a closer look at how tough laws affects migrant women. By Celia Garcia Perez
Belen, Posada Del Migrante (Bethlehem, the Migrant's Shelter) and the Suffering of Central American Migrants
October 3, 2011 - It was a radical humanitarian endeavor. By Father Pedro Pantoja Arreola