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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.
In 2010, Let's Treat our Domestic Workers Better
December 21, 2009 - Here's a New Year's resolution to improve human rights in the United States. By Tiffany Williams, published in The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Domestic Worker Abuse Doesn't Just Happen in Lebanon
December 4, 2009 - Poor treatment of migrant domestic workers hits closer to home than you might think. By Tiffany Williams
Book Review: 'The Slave Next Door'
May 18, 2009 - Slavery may have ended officially in the United States in 1865, but it has continued in practice to this very day. By Tiffany Williams, published in Foreign Policy In Focus
Racial Confessions in a Biracial World
March 27, 2008 - Being comfortably biracial means that Obama moves in even more varied racial settings, observing and hearing what many others do not. By Joy Zarembka, published in The (Bluffton, SC) Island Packet and The Belleville News-Democrat and The Fresno Bee and The Sacramento Bee and The Times Herald Record and The La Crosse (WI) Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer