Mit einem Lächeln auf den Lippen, eine Hausarbeiterin ohne Papiere zieht vors Arbeitsgericht smileContact / Info

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Mit einem Lächeln auf den Lippen
Eine Hausarbeiterin ohne Papiere zieht vors Arbeitsgericht

57 min. Spanish/German with English subtitles, Berlin/Hamburg 2008
A film by Anne Frisius in cooperation with Nadja Damm and Mónica Orjeda

"I thought that, without papers, I didn’t stand a chance. It came as a complete surprise when they told me I could claim my rights even though I am an undocumented person.
I always thought one can’t do a thing without papers. At first I was very nervous too, but not any more. I’ve become a lot more courageous. Now I say, I am only claiming what’s mine. I don’t expect anyone to give me anything for free. I am only claiming the wages for work I have already done." (Ana S.)

After three years of underpaid domestic work with a family in Hamburg, Ana S. decides to go before a labour court and claim a fair wage for her work – although she’s considered “illegal” because she doesn’t have an official residence permit.

This case shows that it’s still worth defending your rights in the face of many difficulties.
It also shows the urgent need for support structures that offer more illegalized people the possibility to fight for their rights.
In Hamburg, various organisations, anti-racist initiatives and the ver.di trade union have supported this case and built up an outreach centre for undocumented workers in search of advice related to labour law.
It's an encouraging first step ...

Ana S. and some of her supporters tell the story (Mónica Orjeda, verikom, Peter Bremme, FB 13 ver.di, Norbert Cyrus, Oldenburg University, a.o.)
Dancing and choreography: Mariela Durand Huamán

Do StiftungStiftung Umverteilen This film was made possible by support from the foundations Stiftung Umverteilen, Do Stiftung and Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt
ver.di Landesbezirk HamburgDiakonie The English version was made possible by ver.di Landesbezirk Hamburg and Diakonie e.V. Hamburg

You can order the DVD at bestellung [at]
Film reviews in the press

Advice on work-related issues:

– Outreach for people without papers
ver.di service centre in the trade union offices,
Besenbinderhof 56, 20097 Hamburg
Tuesdays 10am – 2:00pm, phone 040-258 4138
verikom – Outreach Centre for Migrants without papers, verikom. Verikom assists immigrants without papers in crisis. Its broad range of services includes intensive support for migrants with and without residence prospects during the legalization process and support in the recognition of their legal rights.
Free and anonymous.
phone 0176 630 10427 | e-mail: abfm[at]
AK Undokumentiertes Arbeiten

ver.di district section, Köpenicker Str. 30, 10179 Berlin, Room E 10 (ground floor)
Tel: 030.8866-5622 (only during office hours:
Every 2nd Wednesday of the month:
9:00 – 11:00am
Every 4th Wednesday of the month:
6:00 – 8:00pm

Without papers, but with work!!!