Marzena Zukowska, National Domestic Workers Alliance,
Domenica Ghanem, Institute for Policy Studies,
Report found that among 110 reported cases of domestic worker trafficking, 78% of survivors were threatened with deportation if they reported abuse
(Washington, DC) -- With the Trump administration’s intensified focus on criminalization, immigration enforcement, and deportations, the challenges facing domestic workers — disproportionately immigrants and women of color — are even more urgent.
A newly released report by National Domestic Workers Alliance and Institute for Policy Studies, The Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers in the United States: Findings from the Beyond Survival Campaign, follows the stories of over a hundred domestic workers across the country, revealing the breadth of human trafficking that has trapped and threatened domestic workers into silence. The report found that 78 percent of the domestic worker trafficking survivors had been threatened with deportation if they reported abusive living situations — a statistic that predates Trump’s entrance into office.
“When I was 17 years-old I was brought to the United States by an Indian Diplomat and exploited to work 18-20 hour days doing domestic work,” said Shanti, a member of Adhikaar and survivor of trafficking featured in the report. “I met so many other women like me who have been taken advantage of due to their immigration status, education, or language. Today, I have the courage to speak out and use my voice as a weapon and to support other women. I want to make sure no one has to go through what I went through.”
To support survivors, Beyond Survival advances policy changes aimed at trafficking prevention, access to legal protections and services, and trafficker accountability. In a political climate hostile to immigrant communities, the report also calls for a change in immigration enforcement practices. Without ending the involvement of state and local police in immigration enforcement, fear of deportation will keep domestic workers from asserting their labor rights.
“Trump’s immigration policies, — including raids, discriminatory bans, heightened policing of already over-policed communities, arrests outside churches, in courts, and in cars — send a clear message to traffickers and other employers preying on the most vulnerable workers: that corporate interests override human rights protections and dignity is put aside for the sake of hateful campaign promises,” said Sameera Hafiz, report co-author and Advocacy Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “In this climate, it is more important than ever to learn from the experiences of workers who have survived human trafficking. It is only through their leadership and strategy that other trafficked workers will come forward.”
This report was released on March 13, 2017 at a public panel featuring labor trafficking survivors and immigrant worker rights organizers.
“The Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers in the United States: Findings from the Beyond Survival Campaign” report is available online at www.ips-dc.org and www.domesticworkers.org.
About National Domestic Workers Alliance:
The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. Founded in 2007, NDWA works for the respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers. It’s won legislation protecting domestic workers’ rights in seven states including New York, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Connecticut, and Illinois. The Alliance is powered by almost 60 affiliate organizations — plus its first local chapter in Atlanta — of over 15,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for the elderly in 37 cities and 18 states.
About Institute for Policy Studies:
The "Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is the oldest multi-issue progressive think tank in Washington, DC. IPS has been at the forefront of research and action for the civil rights, anti-war, feminist, environmental and global justice movements in the U.S. and around the globe. The Institute has partnered with grassroots advocacy organizations, like NDWA, to provide public scholarship in support of organizing efforts to build a more just and peaceful world.