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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.
Supreme Court Side-Steps Hate, Racial Profiling in Arizona
July 19, 2012 - The Supreme Court's decision on Arizona's immigration laws addresses part of the issue. But let's name the elephant in the room: Racism. By Em Dickey
March 30, 2012 - Even as a social worker focused on the intersection of violence, ethnicity, immigration status, and the workplace for most of my career, the stories I heard on this trip overwhelmed me. By Tiffany Williams
A Step Forward for Guestworkers in the United States
February 23, 2012 - Earlier this month, the Department of Labor announced new protections for guestworkers with a temporary work permit. By Tiffany Williams
Those Bad Old Days Are Still with Us
February 6, 2012 - "The Help" is drawing attention to today's domestic workers. By Tiffany Williams, published in YubaNet and The (Easton, MD) Star Democrat and Progressive Charlestown (RI)
Protecting Guest Workers in the United States
December 30, 2011 - Hershey's chocolate packing plant is in at the center of a dispute related to a "summer work travel visa" with little opportunity beyond mere survival. By Tiffany Williams