Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Arrest, detention of Indian diplomat in New York triggers uproar, Charges Involve Exploitation of Domestic Service Worker


CNN reports on the arrest and detention of an Indian consular official in New York on visa fraud charges that has created a diplomatic uproar. Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, was arrested last week. Court papers allege she submitted false documents to obtain a work visa for her female housekeeper, paying her less than the amount stated.

The diplomatic controversy focuses on the fact that Khobragade was held in a cell with other females and strip-searched following her arrest.  The U.S. Marshals Service sstate that such treatment was standard procedure. She eventually posted bond and was released.

The case has set off outrage in India about Khobragade's treatment by U.S. law enforcement officials, but it has also drawn concern from human rights advocates about her alleged underpaying of her housekeeper..  Prosecutors allege that Khobragade stated in the visa application for her housekeeper that she would pay her at least $9.75 per hour, the New York minimum wage. But in reality, the prosecutors say, the housekeeper ended up being paid the equivalent of less than $3.31 per hour.

"Foreign nationals brought to the United States to serve as domestic workers are entitled to the same protections against exploitation as those afforded to United States citizens," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement last week announcing Khobragade's arrest.


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