Peruvian housekeeper sues diplomatic employer for trafficking -report

by Lisa Anderson
Thursday, 27 June 2013 08:56 GMT

A woman pauses to speak on the phone in a hallway at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on Sept. 24, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Woman employed in the New Jersey home of the first secretary at Peru’s U.N. mission alleges she worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week with little pay

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Peruvian housekeeper has filed a federal lawsuit against her Peruvian diplomatic employer for requiring her to work in involuntary servitude for little or no compensation, according to a report in the New York Times.

The report said that the woman Maria Rios Fun contracted to work as a housekeeper in the New Jersey suburban home of Marita Puertas Pulgar, first secretary at Peru’s United Nations mission, and her partner Alexis Aquino Albegrin. The contract called for Rios to work seven hours a day, five days a week, at an hourly wage of $9.82 and hourly overtime pay of $14.73, according to the Times.

Instead, Rios alleges that she was assigned additional duties, such as caring for her employer’s infant and children, cooking for the family and expected to work with little or no compensation for labouring without a day off for weeks at a time.

In April, Rios called a national human trafficking hotline and fled the New Jersey home.  She was given shelter and counseling by Safe Horizon, a New York City agency that assists crime victims.

Rios may be eligible for a T visa, which is allocated to victims of human trafficking, Dana Sussman, a staff attorney at Safe Horizon, told the Times.

According to the Times, thousands of foreign workers are issued special visas to come to the U.S. every year to work for foreign diplomats.

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