Foreign missions in the US that abuse their domestic staff are increasingly being held to account under anti-trafficking laws. Claims of diplomatic immunity in the US and many other countries have long been used by unscrupulous employersto abuse domestic workers with impunity. In some cases, allegations fit the definition of trafficking under US law. A 2008 GAO report found 42 cases of alleged abuse against domestic workers of diplomats and employees of foreign organizations in the US between 2000 and 2008. During that period, the US issued nearly 18,000 visas for such workers. However, the report noted that the actual amount of abuse was likely higher. These workers, it said, “are among the most vulnerable who enter our borders legally. They are often poor, uneducated, and unfamiliar with their rights under US law.” About 25 federal civil cases have been brought against diplomats or employees of foreign organizations in the US through the 2003 civil provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
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