Victims' Rights Caucus


06:36 PM ET

Slavery was outlawed in the United States in the 19th century.

However, the State Department says it still exists in what sometimes is called diplomatic slavery.

In 2009, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca was appointed by President Barack Obama to create solutions for ending human trafficking and advocate for change.

CdeBaca directs the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons. He has been efforting how to control the trafficking epidemic into the United States, but more so in the nation's capital.

"It happens just miles from the White House here in Washington D.C.," CdeBaca said.

Secretary of State John Kerry and CdeBaca unveiled resolutions in the 2013 Human Trafficking Report released Wednesday.

The ambassador gave an exclusive interview with CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

“I think we like to think that slavery is what happens in the shadows. As a profession, we hear way too many stories around the world of diplomats who think that they have carte blanche to treat their servants badly,” said CdeBaca.

Rosemery Martell was a victim of diplomatic slavery.

Born and raised in Peru, she was brought to the United States by a Peruvian diplomat and his wife after he offered her a job to take care of his home.

But that job turned into a nightmare where she said she worked 18 hours a day and was sexually assaulted.

"He would touch my legs and ask to see me in a bikini. One time at a birthday party, he grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. I felt like I wanted to die," Martell said.

Martell’s anguish didn’t end there.

She said the Peruvian diplomat and his wife locked her passport in a safe, and told her that if she were to tell anyone, she would never see her family again.

"I couldn't do anything. They always treated me poorly. They always made me feel bad. If I did something, like leave, they told me they would run me over," Martell said, sobbing.

“I think we’d like to think that slavery and human trafficking is what happens in the shadows, in the brothels, on the farms, out in the fishing fleets and things like that. But it also happens in capital cities. Unfortunately, the perpetrator, especially when it’s a domestic servant, might be cloaked with diplomatic immunity,” said CdeBaca.

Diplomatic immunity is often why none of the diplomats face criminal charges. In fact, most diplomats only have to pay fees to their victims, which can take months, but more often years.

“The common thread on all of these cases is the diplomats have total immunity which means you cannot investigate them appropriately, you cannot arrest them, and you cannot question them,” said Martina Vandenberg, who represents victims in these types of cases.

In a statement to CNN, the Peruvian diplomat disputed any claims made by Martell about the alleged abuse.

“Ms. Martell had her own cell phone, and was free to go wherever she wanted to go. We even took her on a family trip to Disneyworld and to other places as if she were our daughter,” the statement said.

The problem is not confined to foreign diplomats.

The state department said some American diplomats abroad occasionally involve themselves in the practice.

In 2006, State Department employee Harold Countryman and his wife, Kim, were accused of keeping a domestic slave from Cambodia.

According to the Justice Department, the two pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting visa fraud. According to the plea agreement, Kim Countryman "admitted to using the fraudulent visa to further the forced labor of a Cambodian woman in their employ" and "acknowledged that she withhel