Break the Chain Campaign
Break The Chain Campaign seeks to prevent and address the abuse and exploitation of migrant women workers through holistic direct services, leadership training, community engagement and survivor-driven outreach and training.
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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
- Released November 1, 2010
By Premilla Nadasen and Tiffany Williams
A look at the history and future of household work in the United States from a gender justice and worker rights perspective.
- Published March 31, 2007
- ISBN 978-0979100307
By Joy Zarembka
Author Joy Zarembka and her brother, Tommy Zarembka (featured on the front of cover of the book), look strikingly similar but were labeled totally two different races at birth. Joy's birthing document states that she is "black" while Tommy's states that he is "white." How do these and other racial classifications effect the lives of mixed race people?
By combining vivid anecdotes of her travels, historical context, and oral histories from mixed-race families, Joy Zarembka examines the notion of race in order to explore the vastly different interpretations of racial identity in various parts of the world in her new book, "The Pigment of Your Imagination: Mixed Race in a Global Society" (Madera Press 2007).
- March 27, 2008
The Belleville News-Democrat features article “Racial Confessions in a Biracial World”Visit the publisher's website • See the article
- March 27, 2008
The Fresno Bee features article “Racial Confessions in a Biracial World”Visit the publisher's website • See the article
- March 27, 2008
The Sacramento Bee features article “Racial Confessions in a Biracial World”Visit the publisher's website • See the article
Click on a staffperson for their blog/profile
Project StaffTiffany Williams
Become engaged in issues affecting migrant women workers
- Educate yourself, read articles, exposes, NGO and government reports and share your knowledge with friends and family
- Volunteer with BTCC and learn more about the issues
- Donate to our advocacy work or directly to local rights-based direct service organizations
To report suspected human trafficking or find information about nationwide crisis/emergency services for survivors of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888
Volunteer or Intern at BTCC
Click here to check out our current openings
Your donations keep our programs running so we can continue the fight against migrant worker exploitation, and provide policy resources to grassroots movements
To donate go to http://www.ips-dc.org/donate
or send a check or money order (payable to IPS with BTCC in the subject line) to:
Break the Chain Campaign
Institute for Policy Studies
1112 16th Street, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
BTCC is a leader in the Freedom Network USA, a national network of nearly 30 anti-trafficking direct service organizations that 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.
BTCC is a key ally of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and work on several projects related to international, national, and local campaigns focused on improving the lives of domestic workers in the US and globally.
BTCC is a Campaign Leadership Team Member of Caring Across Generations, a powerful new movement transforming policies, perceptions, and as connected communities, how we understand long-term care. Families, workers, communities, and generations are tightly intertwined. Valuing quality and affordable care, vital intergenerational and interconnected relationships, and the uncompromised dignity of care workers, seniors, and people with disabilities, Caring Across Generations envisions and seeks to build a more just long-term care infrastructure. Caring Across Generations is initiating 2 million new and fair home care jobs, carving out a path for citizenship for care workers, and strengthening and safeguarding Medicare and Medicaid.
Insightful and useful links
- International Labor Organization (ILO)
- National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)
- Freedom Network USA
- Free the Slaves
- Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)
- Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- International Organization of Migration
- The Campaign to Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking
- United States Department of Justice Human Trafficking
The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bales
Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild
A Crime So Monstrous by Ben Skinner