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White House unveils plan to save domestic helps of diplomats

Washington: In the wake of the worst diplomatic spat with India over the arrest of an Indian diplomat for allegedly underpaying her nanny, the White House has come out with a strategic action plan for
IANS January 15, 2014 10:11 IST
IANS
Washington: In the wake of the worst diplomatic spat with India over the arrest of an Indian diplomat for allegedly underpaying her nanny, the White House has come out with a strategic action plan for human trafficking "victims".

The plan does not name Devyani Khobragade, India's then consul general in New York, but it does address issues relating to domestic workers brought to the US by foreign diplomats and officials working for international organisations.

Among other things the five year plan, running into 84 pages, says the State department will "develop procedures for the in-person registration of domestic workers employed by diplomatic personnel in the Washington, DC, area shortly after their arrival in the United States to apprise them further of their rights and available services."

However, it makes no mention about registration of domestic workers of diplomats in New York, where the Khobragade incident occurred, or other major cities where foreign consulates are located.

"Recognizing the vulnerabilities inherent in domestic work and the need to foreclose avenues of exploitation, particularly of those employed by diplomatic personnel," the plan said, the State department "will continue its efforts to educate foreign mission personnel and their domestic workers about US federal, state, and local laws, including protections for domestic workers employed by diplomatic personnel."

Its "Bureau of Diplomatic Security will continue to educate the nongovernmental community about its ability to identify victims of human trafficking, domestically and overseas, and work on trafficking cases, particularly those related to visa fraud and the foreign diplomatic community."

The State Department, it said "will continue to address the protection of A-3 and G-5 workers through its regular internal working group meeting on domestic worker issues, where it reviews allegations and cases and discusses strategies and ongoing efforts to prevent abuse and obtain compliance" with the department requirements.

It will also "develop a Know Your Rights informational video to provide information on protections for certain employment- and education-based non-immigrant visa applicants, including domestic workers."