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Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate: ‘What India Is Doing Here Is Diplomatic Blackmail’

The arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat to the United States has caused an escalating incident between the two countries, with India revoking many of the protections American diplomats working in that country enjoy. On Thursday’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, an anti-human trafficking advocate noted that the allegations against the diplomat are serious and that India is extorting the United States to back off the prosecution of their diplomat.

Martina Vandenberg, the president of the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, told Tapper that the charges against Devyani Khobragade include paying her housekeeper below standard wages and then lying about this on her visa application.

Tapper said her housekeeper was treated “almost like an indentured servant,” though “not quite a slave.”

RELATED: International Incident: India Cracks Down on U.S. Diplomats After Female Envoy Strip Searched

“This is the third known case of alleged employee abuse involving the Indian consulate in New York in recent years,” Tapper continued.

He added that Secretary of State John Kerry frustrated many in the diplomatic community when he called Indian officials and expressed “regret” for arresting Khobragade, though Tapper conceded that America’s bilateral relations with India are of critical importance.

“That’s true, but I feel like what India is doing here is diplomatic blackmail,” Vandenberg said.

Watch the clip below via CNN:

[Photo via screen grab ]

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