It is simply this. Do Indians have a domestic help problem? And why do we not seem to get it no matter how many times we trip up?
In 2012 Neena Malhotra, India’s cultural and press counselor in New York was ordered to pay out nearly $1.5 million for forcing an underaged Indian girl to work with little to no pay in their plush 43rd Street Manhattan apartment. She had been told she would be raped, beaten and sent to India as “cargo” if she left the home without their permission.
In 2011 Prabhu Dayal, the consul general in New York was accused of treating his domestic help as a “slave”. Santosh Bhardwaj, the maid in question, said in her lawsuit that she was forced to work long hours for $300 a month, her passport was confiscated and she had to sleep in a storage closet. She also alleged sexual overtures which Dayal vehemently denied.
Ms Khobragade is accused of visa fraud and exploiting her babysitter and housekeeper. According to the 11-page criminal complaint in her A-3 visa application for her domestic help, the domestic help alleged she worked far more than 40 hours a week and was paid less than $9.75 per hour as had been agreed to in a contract she had signed with Ms. Khobragade for her visa application. Ms Khobragade reportedly got her help to agree to being paid no more than Rs30,000 which works out to about $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," said Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York. His office alleges Ms Khobragade tried to circumvent US protections for workers by submitting false documents and information while applying for a visa for “a babysitter and housekeeper” she brought from India.