I AM SO PLEASED TO SEE the excellent piece of investigative reporting that you ran on the mistreatment of nannies by the wealthy people who make up the middle and upper echelons of the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank (“Capital Slaves,” 5/12).
As a doctoral candidate in human geography at Johns Hopkins University, my own research is on the experience of nannies who migrate to Beijing from the countryside in China. There is hardly any need to travel so far, however. As a mother of a 4-year-old here in the District, I learned of experiences such as Martha Honey describes. I interviewed one young Filipina as a potential part-time baby-sitter and was so overwhelmed by her plight that I decided against hiring anyone. She was living in fear, her passport was held by her employer, she was never paid a fraction of what she had been promised in a signed contract, and she was literally terrified that her employer would attempt to get her in trouble with the authorities.
A neighbor of mine offered me part-time baby-sitting though her “nanny,” a woman from Trinidad. I tried it for a while until getting to know the woman and learning of the terrible workload her other employers were imposing upon her. She had no break from morning to night, nor on the weekend. The family was not as privileged as a World Bank employee, but the outcome for the young woman who worked for $500 a month for two years without ever asking a question was the same.
I would like to call for the World Bank, IMF, and IDB to announce an investigation panel be formed to assess the situation and threaten those who are committing these crimes with turning over their names for full prosecution.
American University Park