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Our History

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 domestics, 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. BTCC continues to support and advocate for the rights of migrant women workers to this day.