I Have it Maid – Documentary About Runaway Migrant Workers

The documentary I Have it Maid, directed and produced by Alex Wolfgram and Nick Vaky, discusses the phenomenon of runaway migrant workers in Taiwan. Filmed primarily in Taipei and Manila, the film documents the process of which migrants are hired in their home countries throughout the time they arrive in Taiwan until they choose to run away.

I Have it Maid touches on several touchy subjects including the underlying reasons causing migrants to run away – namely, corrupt broker systems and loopholes in Taiwan’s legal framework for protecting migrants’ rights. The goal of the film, according to Alex and Nick, is too identify and amend the reasons causing migrants to flee in order to create a more stable society in Taiwan as well as to promote better human rights.

The film focuses on one worker in particular named “Vicky” who recently has run away from her employer. In order to understand her predicament, the directors decide to start from Manila and retrace her steps to where she was first hired. They also meet with her family to understand the environment and family setting a migrant such as herself comes from when they decide to work abroad. Without giving away too much we will say the documentary reveals a number of eyebrow raising concerns that points to a number of issues connected to workers running away.

But the story doesn’t end there. Wolfgram and Vaky aim to connect the dots by returning to Taiwan and meeting with local brokers to understand their point of view and the connections they have with brokers in migrants’ home countries. The results are equally distressing and pointed to a bigger picture of which brokers have essentially been lying to workers while getting away with it.

“How can such scenarios be occurring?” the film candidly asks. In an effort to further see the underlying roots of the problem the film digs into the laws surrounding oversight with brokers and the laws that can be amended to not only protect migrants in Taiwan but that also have the capacity for largely decreasing the category of “runaways” all together. The film emphasizes one law in particular that does not allow migrants to freely change employers like white-collar workers and how the law essentially creates the category of “runaways” by default.

Many interviews are conducted with government officials, academics, migrants and their family members, in addition to locals in Taiwan related to policy and overall views on the situation of runaway migrant workers in Taiwan. Clocking in at 61 minutes, the film ends by making recommendations for amending Taiwan’s law and policy for migrant workers and proposes ways how Taiwan can better its overall environment with these populations of people who are ever increasing and making the island a diverse place.

I Have it Maid took over 2 years to film on a $1500 budget funded through donations. Where Alex and Nick lacked funding they were able to make up for it by dedicating every Tuesday and Sunday to filming, according to the directors.

The film can be watched for free on YouTube here.

To connect with the directors, you can access their social media feeds here:

Alex Wolfgram

FB: https://www.facebook.com/alex.wolfgram.3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexWolfgram

Nick Vaky

FB: https://www.facebook.com/nick.vaky

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickVaky

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