February 16, 2010
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16, 2010, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the Asian American Legal Defense Education Fund, and 11 other organizations submitted an amicus brief in support of plaintiff Vishranthamma Swarna’s claims against her former employers, former Kuwaiti diplomat Badar Al-Awadi and his wife Halal Muhammad Al-Shaitan, and the state of Kuwait. While employed as a domestic worker for the defendants, who were stationed at the Kuwait Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, Ms. Swarna asserts that the defendants subjected her to slavery-like conditions, including involuntary servitude and torture. Defendant claim that diplomatic immunity exempts them from this suit. Our brief argues that human trafficking is a commercial activity engaged in for personal profit, which falls outside the scope of a diplomat’s official functions, and therefore diplomatic immunity does not apply.