Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thorny issue

What should the United States do when a human trafficker is a foreign diplomat with immunity from prosecution?

The American Civil Liberties Union is petitioning the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of six domestic workers, asking that the United States be held responsible "for its neglect and failure to protect domestic workers employed by diplomats from human rights abuses and to ensure that these workers can seek meaningful redress for their rights."

The workers all describe things that are familiar to anyone who studies human trafficking—deception about pay and working conditions, confiscation of passports, workers forced to put in ridiculously long hours and forbidden to leave the house or talk with anyone. Beatings, verbal abuse and threats.

I've often thought poorly of the ACLU, but these workers seem to have a legitimate claim that the U.S. should have done more to protect them. Changing our laws and policies regarding diplomatic immunity would be a huge undertaking, I'm sure. But why should foreign diplomats be free to enslave people while living in this country? I encourage you to read the stories of these workers.

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