Each year, thousands of au pairs come to the United States seeking opportunities. In exchange for a place to live and a small stipend, they provide child care for families with small children. In many cases, the experience is a positive one: Au pairs take classes and explore a country they otherwise might never have seen. They become a beloved part of the family.
Other times, they’re not so lucky. Thanks to lax oversight, au pairs sometimes find themselves in situations they can’t control, enduring wage theft, abuse and exploitation. And lacking a support system, things can turn dangerous quickly.
Our new episode with the nonprofit news organization The Investigative Fund zeroes in on some of this industry’s lesser-seen problems – and the bureaucratic failures that help perpetuate them.