Tia H.

Jacqueline Contreras

Coring de los Reyes

Mónica Orjeda and Jacqueline Contrera

Mari Martens

Elline Willemsen

Urgent – Help wanted –
No recognition provided
Domestic workers fight for their rights
equal rights for all A film by Anne Frisius in cooperation with Mónica Orjeda
65 min, Hamburg/Amsterdam/Bremen 2014

Urgent – Help wanted – No recognition provided

Trailer: www.vimeo.com/138547390

"I worked from Monday to Sunday, on average 12 to 14 hours. Only on Sundays did I work any less, until about 18:00." Tia H, who came from Indonesia to Hamburg to study German, wanted to earn her living expenses as a domestic worker. After three years, she sues her employer in Labour Court for her unpaid wages.
Her employer states that she had never worked for him: he claims that they'd been good friends, that Tia H. had enjoyed playing with his baby, and that he'd given her 400 Euros a month only as a purely humanitarian gesture. Now Tia H. has to prove to the court that she actually worked – almost impossible to do, in a case of employment in a private household.

Rosita P. was sent to the Netherlands by an employment agency in Peru. She was promised that she could work there legally as a domestic employee. But she doesn't receive any work permit papers, and the working conditions are terrible. "From 7:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night I had to work non-stop." She never got a day off, and was not even allowed to leave the house alone.

Tia H. and Rosita P. are not isolated cases. "Many employers take advantage of these people's circumstances," notes Dominique John of the DGB (German Trade Union Confederation) counselling centre, Faire Mobilität. For labour tasks that used to be done without pay by family members, usually women, it's now increasingly common to hire foreign women at low wages.

But with rising frequency, domestic workers are fighting for their rights. Some go to court, because their working conditions violate current laws. Others go public, and seek out political ways and means of improving their situation.

Demonstration von Hausangestellten und Unterstützer_innen der niederländischen Gewerkschaft FNV

United Migrant Domestic Workers, Amsterdam, November 2013

Jaqueline Contreras (Chile), Francia Galeano (Colombia) and Coring de los Reyes (Philippines) came to the Netherlands many years ago, and stayed there. Since then, they have been working in private households. They and their families have no rights in society whatsoever, because they are considered to be "illegals". In 2006, they founded the organisation "United Migrant Domestic Workers", to publicly call for recognition and to claim their rights. A large Dutch trade union (FNV) has incorporated the organisation, and supports it in its demands.


United Migrant Domestic Workers, Amsterdam, November 2013

This film is a contribution to the social discourse about work in private households that holds the perspectives of domestic workers as its central focal point.

Camera: Anne Frisius, Ute Freund, Jacqueline Contreras (Footage, Photography)
Animation: Nanja Heid,
Voice over: Thekla Mattern,
Interview: Nadja Damm, Mónica Orjeda, Anne Frisius,
Translations: Lui Lüdicke, Lydia Baldwin, Annemiek van de Wetering,
Music: Ole Schmitt,
Story, Editing, Direction: Anne Frisius

Anne Frisius has been making documentary films for 20 years,on issues such as: Ageing with dignity vs. fair working conditions for senior caretakers, domestic violence, solidarity economy, and women doing undocumented labour, among others. This is her third film in collaboration with Mónica Orjeda.

Mónica Orjeda came from Peru to Germany in 1995 and became involved as a volunteer on behalf of Latinas in the sex work industry (Mucolade - Mujeres contra la Deportación). She studied social work and is currently a social work counsellor at verikom in Hamburg.


- in Hamburg:
  Verikom, Hamburg: www.verikom.de/erwachsene/ambulante-beratung
- in Germany:
  Faire Mobilität, Deutschland: www.faire-mobilitaet.de/beratungsstellen
- in the Netherlands:
  Fairwork, Niederlande: www.fairwork.nu/english/need_help.htm

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Umverteilen! Stiftung für eine solidarische Welt    Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt
Made possible with the friendly support of verikom, Hamburg; the Umverteilen! Foundation, and the Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt Foundation. The english version was made possible with the friendly support of Diakonie Hamburg and Stiftung Umverteilen!

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