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Immigration Law

Diplomatic Impunity: Trafficking Women to the United States in the Shadow of the White House

"Human trafficking by diplomats poses little risk of prosecution.  Or as the founder of the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, Martina Vandenberg, puts it, “Diplomatic immunity is not a license to traffic, but it’s pretty close.”  Diplomatic immunity shields certain classes of foreign diplomats from arrest.  Those with the highest level of immunity are considered “inviolable” and investigators cannot search their homes, or even their cars, without consent.  Vandenberg, who represents victims in civil and criminal cases, says 24 cases of labor exploitation and trafficking have been filed against foreign diplomats in the U.S. between 1994 and 2012.  “This is happening 10 miles from the White House,” she says, “This is happening on visas issued by the American government.”" - Yuko Narushima, Washington Spectator, Mar. 1, 2013.