Friday, March 25, 2011

Essay: Human Rights of Migrant Workers

I’m currently researching for an essay on Migrant Workers and Human Rights. It’s for my Human Rights Reporting class. I’m going to focus on the Canada’s guest worker program, particularly on the town of Leamington, Ontario with Mexican migrant labourers.

I was hoping to find a documentary to get me “warmed up”, as it were, to ease my way into the research. This will also be an excuse to watch a film. The last film I watched was in class (Crossing Midnight-I highly recommend it) and before that… I think it was Chloe. I miss films! Gah. And I can remember when I was in first year in a film class and in MIT classes, I watched so many movies that I stopped liking movies for a bit! Of course, this was soon remedied, once classes ended. (and now back to the topic at hand)

In an article, I found mention of El Contrato, a documentary about man from Central Mexico who makes the yearly journey to Leamington to work. It is very critical of the whole situation, so this will be the perfect start to delving into the research. Here is an excerpt from the aforementioned article:

Min Sook Lee’s 2003 National Film Board film, El Contrato or The Contract, illustrated poignantly the exploitation of this new migrant Leamington population. She narrates in the film, “They are wanted as labourers, not as citizens. The program only accepts men who are married, with less than a grade school education and with strong ties and families back home, men who will go back after months of painful separation.

In 2002, a workers’ centre opened in Leamington, offering counsel and advocacy for the farm labourers. In 2003, the time of the filming of El Contrato, the migrant farm workers worked seven days a week, ten hours a day for a flat rate of $7.25 per hour, no overtime, no holidays.
Something that is most excellent is that you can watch the whole film on the NFB website! Here’s the link, in case you’re interested in watching: (I’m fairly certain that anyone in the world is given access to the films- but please tell me if you can’t access the film)

Oh, and if you watch it and you want to discuss anything in it, feel free to message me.

No comments:

Post a Comment